Thursday, 15 November 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
136. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will make a grant available to the Tourist Victim Support Service to increase its current core funding of £15,000 from Bord Fáilte. [28365/01]
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): The Tourist Victim Support Service was established in 1994. It is based in Garda Headquarters, Harcourt Street, in offices provided by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It is overseen by an advisory board, which includes representatives of the umbrella Victim Support organisation, the TVSS full-time co-ordinator, Bord Fáilte, Dublin Tourism, Dublin Corporation, the Irish Hotels Federation, Aer Rianta, the Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation and other partners in the tourism sector.
The service receives an annual grant of £15,000 from Bord Fáilte and not directly from my Department. The TVSS sent an application for increased funding to me last August, which was duly forwarded for consideration to Bord Fáilte who are, I understand, currently in discussion with the TVSS.
The TVSS offers a service to tourists who are attacked, robbed or otherwise victimised while visiting Ireland. It has had just over 3,000 cases referred to it since its establishment in 1994. I welcome the fact that since 1999 there has been a gradual but steady reduction in the number of referrals.
Larceny and theft from cars still account for the majority of the crimes against tourists while thankfully violent attacks, although still occurring, are decreasing. I was particularly heartened to hear of the overwhelming support for Guido Nasi, who was attacked in Fairview Park two years ago, and who made a return visit to Ireland this year. This support shows that Irish people have a particular aversion to attacks against tourists who are our guests and are determined to make every effort to counter crime against tourists.
It falls as a duty on all of us to make our visitors feel welcome and safe here. We in Government are playing our part in relation to general security issues. I am aware that a number of organisations, in addition to Bord Fáilte, also make contributions to the TVSS. I know that the TVSS is now making a concerted effort to increase sponsorship. I call on the many tourism enterprises who avail of or have access to the referral service to also consider making a contribution to the funding of TVSS's activities.
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