Written Answers - Garda Strength.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 677 No. 3

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  281.  Deputy Dinny McGinley  Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   if, in view of the number of criminal incidents around Lifford, County Donegal and other Border towns, the increased evidence of dissident activity in the region and the number of robberies and attempted robberies that have taken place, he will consider increasing Garda numbers in Border stations, particularly in Lifford Garda station, which is more exposed than others, due to the closure of the army barracks there; if he will increase Garda personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10047/09]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that Lifford Garda Station forms part of the Letterkenny Garda District. The personnel strength of the Letterkenny Garda District as at 31 January 2009, the latest date for which figures are readily available was 194. The personnel strength of Lifford Garda Station as at the same date was 13.

Local Garda management, through ongoing monitoring and analysis of crime trends, are aware of the issues being raised by the Deputy and the Divisional Officer has put the following measures in place to prevent, reduce and detect such incidents:

additional patrols by uniform and plain-clothes personnel of the area;

re-deployment of resources, to assist in the identification of suspected offenders for these offences;

the dissemination of crime prevention advice to the local community using local media, including radio and newspapers;

local senior Garda management regularly meet with community representatives to apprise them of ongoing efforts and initiatives to target criminality including appealing to the community to report any information / suspicious activity occurring in the area to An Garda Síochána.

Liaison has been established and is being maintained with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to establish similar crime trends in that jurisdiction, which may assist in identi[576]fying suspects for these incidents. It is not the policy of An Garda Síochána to release specific details of ongoing plans or operations to combat dissident or criminal activities. However, the policing of border areas, as well as other areas of Donegal Division, is constantly monitored and reviewed in terms of policing requirements and resource allocation, having regard to the regularly updated threat assessment. An Garda Síochána, in co-operation with the PSNI, is engaging in high visibility policing along the border and additional patrols have been put in place.

Resource levels are monitored on an ongoing basis by local and senior Garda Management in the District and Division, in conjunction with crime trends and other demands made on An Garda Síochána, and are kept under review to ensure that optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation will be kept under review and the needs of the area referred to by the Deputy will be fully considered within the overall context of the needs of Garda stations throughout the country.

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