Gangland Crime: Motion (Resumed).

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 701 No. 1

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The following motion was moved by Deputy Charles Flanagan on Tuesday, 2 February 2010:

[111]Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

[112]

[113]

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I would like to share time with Deputy Costello.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  What we have seen in 2010 is the continuation of gangland murders as criminals continue to fight over the incredibly lucrative drug market and other black market economies. These gangsters are willing to kill and are ready to die for control of their lucrative markets and profits. While I fully support the work the Garda is doing to combat gangland crime and drug dealing, it seems that as soon as it convicts a major figure, another crop springs up to fill the gap. Unfortunately, we are living in an environment where certain sectors of society have lost all regard for people’s lives, never mind their property or right to security and a peaceful existence. What the citizens of this State demand from the Government is not the self-serving, self-congratulating counter-motion we have seen, but some concrete and realistic actions.

It is accepted that the drug plague spans all sectors of the socioeconomic classes and ethnicities, yet it seems those who end up in the coroner’s office or in Mountjoy Prison almost invariably come from economically deprived areas. Why is this? This relates to the fundamental question of why we have a drug problem and gangland crime. Without trying to over-simplify the issue, it is because people from these areas have fewer opportunities in society. Why does society always respect someone who is successful and has pulled himself or herself up by the bootstraps? It is because that person has triumphed over an adversity with which the majority of people need not contend.

When the rest of the country was living through the rich economic times, there were parts of this city in particular where the largesse that was available to many did not connect. Unfortunately, my constituency of Dublin South-Central contains some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas in the country. It also houses the largest addiction centre in Ireland, which provides a service for addicts and recovering addicts from across the country. It is in these areas that the reductions in social welfare benefits will hit hard. It is these areas that will suffer most if the Government succeeds, for example, in driving its agenda of cutting the minimum wage. It is these areas that continue to wait in vain for regeneration of run down social housing schemes. A number are awaiting development, but there is no light on the horizon for them. The people involved are crying out for services and facilities that are taken for granted in other communities while the State pays developers’ debts on buildings in Chicago, London and Bulgaria.

Everyone in the House is aware of the TV show “The Wire” and its stark presentation of the war on drugs and the intergenerational nature of drug dealing and drug addiction. I have spoken to teachers who tell me that they can make a pretty accurate prediction as to which of the children they teach in senior infants will end up in trouble with the Garda. Ingrained deprivation and a lack of economic opportunity result in poverty becoming intergenerational and thus creating an environment where criminality can flourish.

I fully support the Opposition party motion and would urge the Government to support it as well. Simply getting tough on criminals will not solve the underlying problems. We should be front-loading our educational supports to the youngest and most vulnerable children. We should ensure that children who are at risk are offered the same opportunities that the rest of the country takes for granted. We must offer a different economic narrative for these areas in [114]order that criminality is not looked upon as a glamorous career choice or the only choice. We must provide regeneration to communities that have been neglected for decades to prove to people that the State considers them equal members of society that cannot be allowed to continue to live in deplorable conditions. We must address the deficiencies in the Garda Síochána structures as identified by the Garda Inspectorate, such as the lack of IT equipment in stations, the fact that civilianisation has not been achieved as proposed and that staffing levels have not been adapted to take account of the peaks and troughs in garda levels. We must end the easy availability of mobile telephones in jails that allows crime lords to continue running their operations from behind bars. More people seem to come out of jail as drug addicts than go in.

The sophisticated technology of gangland crime is a serious challenge. The brutality of the gangsters is also a major threat to civilised society. The Garda must be given the resources to match the ingenuity and the high-tech facilities of the gangs. The culture of the mindless gangsters must also be tackled through early intervention and family support. Unless we take a wider, more holistic view in tackling the issue of gangland crime and criminality, I fear the House will be discussing this issue in the years to come as one generation of criminals is replaced by another and the cycle continues. We need action sooner rather than later.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I thank Deputy Upton for sharing her time with me. As the Leas-Cheann Comhairle knows, these motions arise on a regular basis. The situation seems to be deteriorating constantly. This year opened with a spate of gangland murders, as did 2009. It is no longer strange. It is par for the course, something we have come to expect. Only six years ago the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, told the House after one such murder that he had gangland killings well under control and that the murder in question was “the sting of a dying wasp”. Presumably, he intended it to be the last murder, but we now see where we have been led.

The present Minister’s response to the motion is more or less the same, in that it is self-serving and self-congratulatory. There is little else in it. Meanwhile, gangland crime is going from strength to strength and spreading its tentacles across the country. The former Minister did not face up to reality and the current Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, does not seem to be able to face up to it either.

Gun crime and drugs are the hallmarks of the modern gangland criminal. The proliferation of illegal drugs in every county started 30 years ago and has laid the groundwork for an industry valued at €1 billion, one of the most lucrative in these times of economic recession. It is constantly growing. The fact that we are an island nation with endless points of entry and inadequate checks and surveillance makes Ireland a smuggler’s paradise. Smugglers are enjoying it. That ruthless drug barons can police their illegal operations with illegal weapons and murder whoever gets in their way with virtual impunity and no fear of conviction is bringing law and order into disrepute. The fact that drug barons can control their illegal businesses from prisons and abroad and even order hits is almost beyond belief in a democratic and civilised society.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that Irish law enforcement is not keeping up with Irish criminal innovation. This is a major part of the problem. While the Garda is devising and implementing micromanagement through its annual policing plans, there does not appear to be any long-term planning to devise strategies for dealing with drugs and gun crimes, the hallmarks of serious criminal activity. Consequently, the 1980s saw a heroin epidemic. It became an epidemic of cocaine in the 1990s and crack cocaine and tablets in the 2000s, with heroin remaining on and spreading throughout the country. In 2010, we have another dreadful epidemic, this time of head shops, which sell products containing lethal ingredients that mimic [115]illegal drug substances such as cocaine and LSD. Head shops are spreading like wildfire, but the Government is doing nothing about them. Every few years, mind-altering substances appear on the market or black market and enjoy the space to flourish before law enforcement kicks in. This is a serious part of the problem.

All of these guns and drugs are imported from abroad. Clearly, cross-Border security and police co-operation are ineffective. We must take certain actions. For example, we must put together a package of proposals to comprise the issues referred to by Deputy Upton, including urban blight, regeneration, education, training, housing and employment. That last issue would form a major part of the package and emphasis should be placed on it, but the Government is not doing so. A comprehensive strategy to deal with existing drug crime is also required. Surveillance and scanning equipment are needed at airports and sea ports. The equipment should be upgraded and personnel increased to deal with it. Maritime and cross-Border co-operation between the EU and Ireland is not up to scratch. The Lisbon treaty makes new provisions for such co-operation and I would like them to be implemented immediately.

More than anything else, a special task force to monitor and tackle any new drugs that arrive on the scene before they have time to become established and spread widely is required. For the past 12 months, we have seen the inevitable onset of head shop-type drugs, but nothing has been done. Overnight, we could use a statutory instrument to declare the worst of the ingredients — methadrone — illegal, which would mean that many of the shops would need to close. We could work on enforcing consumer legislation. We could ban sales to minors before moving on to licensing and planning.

Gangland crime has carved out a niche in Irish life and is here to stay unless radical measures are taken.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I wish to share time with Deputies Michael McGrath, Ciarán Cuffe, Mattie McGrath, Darragh O’Brien and Niall Collins.

I welcome the opportunity to make a brief contribution to this important debate. I pay tribute to our colleague, Deputy Charlie Flanagan, as it is traditional for me to do so on these occasions. By having this business before us, he is giving an opportunity to debate what for all of us is a very important issue. I am no different on the Fianna Fáil benches in that regard.

Much attention has focused on Tallaght this week because of the body found at the location known as the viewing point in Rathfarnham on Sunday. Everybody in the country was aware of this and I received calls from Dublin and beyond which focused on the Irish Independent story yesterday morning featuring an amazing picture of two women in the mountains supporting gardaí and waiting for news on the body. Their respective sons, two Tallaght men, had been missing. As the story developed, it transpired that the body was that of Ken Fetherston, a young man from Ailesbury in Tallaght, who went missing on 22 September last year and whose car was subsequently found in Gorey, Wexford. His body has now been positively identified.

I will speak on this if I may because it is pertinent to the motion. I sympathise with the family of Ken Fetherston because I know them very well and worked with his mother some years ago. They are very distressed, as one can imagine. The family of Paul Byrne, the other young man from my parish in Fettercairn in Tallaght who has been missing since last July, is also upset. Both of these men were fathers and their families have really suffered in an enormous nightmare over the past while.

I want to be positive about my attitude to the Garda in respect of these two cases and I have great sympathy for both families. I have much sympathy for all the other families of missing people who were affected by the news over the past couple of days. I know from other sources [116]that contact was made by Garda liaison personnel with families whose relations may have been in the mountains.

I hope everybody shares my view that we should strongly support the efforts of the Garda Síochána, particularly the efforts of gardaí in Tallaght under Superintendent Eamon Dolan, who are now not only looking for the killers of Ken Fetherston, but also trying to solve the mystery of Paul Byrne. It is important that we give them support and I have no hesitation, as a resident of the area and local Fianna Fáil Deputy, in doing so. I hope I have the support of all colleagues in this respect as it is very important for the Garda to know we are behind its efforts. Any resources required should be made available. I hope the public in Tallaght, Dublin South-West and in the wider areas of Dublin and beyond share this view. The victim’s car was taken from the Dublin area and moved to the south east so there is potential for people to help gardaí in that regard. I want to be associated with such action.

I will not stand here and say things are perfect as far as crime is concerned but I support the efforts of the current Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Dermot Ahern. He has a very difficult task, as his predecessors have had and his successors will have. Law and order is very important and I spent some time on the joint policing board on South Dublin County Council with other colleagues. I take every opportunity to support the work of the Garda in that respect.

I have heard other colleagues speak about the drugs business. I do not have time to develop that idea except to say that, along with colleagues such as Deputies Pat Rabbitte, Brian Hayes and other local public representatives, I am a member of the Tallaght drugs task force. We are very much aware of the issues and very anxious to support the gardaí who sit with us on that task force. Colleagues will take this opportunity to make points — including political points — and this is not a difficulty but, ultimately, it is about the community response to law and order. We must support the State and the Garda.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  I welcome the opportunity to make a contribution to this debate in the House. On Wednesday, 20 January this year, the quiet suburb of Wilton in Cork city, near Cork University Hospital, was rocked by a vicious gangland-style murder. It is widely regarded as the fifth gangland murder in Cork city since 1995, and as we know it is already the fifth in this State in 2010.

It is quite clear that the members of these criminal gangs have no regard for human life or the consequences of their actions on society. They are fearless about being caught and are not afraid of going before any court in this jurisdiction or being convicted. If they are convicted, they have no fear of being in prison.

The statistics point to the root cause of gangland-style murders being the drugs industry. According to the CSO, between 2005 and 2009 there was a 51% increase in recorded drug offences relating to possession of drugs for sale or supply and a 67% increase in recording of possession of drugs for personal use between 2005 and 2009. When the economy boomed, the drugs industry boomed as well, and the level of recorded offences is testament to that.

The people involved in vicious killings and the drugs industry are a threat to our civilised society and must be met head-on. We must work on the long-term solutions of education, tackling social disadvantage and investing in the national drugs strategy. We also need severe short-term solutions that will have an immediate impact. In introducing a range of legislative measures recently, the Minister has taken important steps in that regard. I particularly welcome legislation on surveillance, as it is essential for gardaí to have the power to use whatever technological tool is available in the fight against organised crime.

[117]I welcome the publication of the Bill dealing with forensic evidence and DNA databases. I hold no truck for civil libertarians who believe this is a threat to our civil liberties. My own view is that if a person has nothing to hide, he or she will have nothing to fear. The Bill does not pose a threat to any individual in the State other than those who have just cause to feel threatened.

I also welcome the legislation facilitating the use of the Special Criminal Court to get around the problem of witnesses and jurors being targeted for intimidation. I despair at times of the sentencing policy that I witness in the court system every day and which is reported in the media. The rot sets in with lesser crimes than murder, where people hauled before the courts day in and day out with multiple previous convictions — sometimes as many as 20 or 30 — get off with a suspended sentence. It is very difficult to understand a system which perpetuates that kind of sentencing policy.

It is clear that judges do not like mandatory sentencing and their response to the legislation concerning mandatory sentencing for drug offences is quite clear. If the Legislature gives the Judiciary any wiggle room whatever to opt out of mandatory sentencing, it will avail of it. The question has to be asked that while there is a mandatory life sentence for murder in this country, what does a life sentence mean? Perhaps it is time for a life sentence in Ireland for murder to mean life, with those convicted serving a full life sentence. That would be a strong deterrent and perhaps it is time for us to consider measures as draconian — as some may describe them — as that. There is a real fear among witnesses about testifying in court cases involving gangland crimes, which is understandable.

Another of our starting points must be to resolve issues in our prisons. As I said earlier, these gangsters have no fear whatsoever of prisons and the statistics for last year show over 1,100 drug seizures in the 11 main prisons in Ireland, with 505 in Mountjoy alone. There is much illegal activity in the very institutions set up to deal with such issues. Over 2,100 mobile telephones were seized in the same time, which shows that we should sort out our prisons before we can win the battle on the streets.

I welcome the fact that the Minister has finally received sanction for 170 Garda promotions. Cork, as well as the rest of the country, has been affected by the large number of retirements in the force at a senior level in 2009. At the end of 2009, there were 19 fewer senior gardaí across the three Cork divisions at sergeant level and above. I ask the Minister to address that issue and to ensure that the Garda Síochána has every possible tool to defeat the scourge of drugs on our streets and to win the fight once and for all against these gangsters.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  The Fine Gael Party motion is timely. There are serious concerns about gangland crime that demand a full response. In fairness to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, much good work is being done. The number of gardaí is at an historic high of 14,500, which is good. A total of €29 million has been invested in prison places and there is record funding for the Criminal Assets Bureau and for Operation Anvil.

The mandatory penalty for murder is life imprisonment, and for manslaughter the penalty is up to life. The existing policies mean that those convicted of gangland gun murders are serving their full sentences in accordance with the law. No prisoner convicted of such murders has been released early by the current Minister or his immediate predecessors.

There has been a two thirds increase in funding between 2007 and 2009 for gardaí specifically assigned to community policing. The Criminal Assets Bureau has had some outstanding successes in seizing nearly €7.5 million of the proceeds of crime and collecting just over €6 million in taxes and interest in 2008. For a return on investment, the CAB is doing great work in [118]tackling these thugs. The ongoing development within the Garda Síochána of the asset profile network is providing vital local knowledge to the CAB.

I share in the condemnation of gangland crime and I agree with the Minister’s proposal to target seriously criminal gangs over the next year, such as hijackings and warehouse robberies. His proposal makes sense. There are areas in which we need improvement and I pay tribute to Kathleen O’Toole’s recent report that highlighted the need to up our game substantially in respect of the use of information technology by the Garda. I am not a great fan of the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s fiscal policies, but I admire the extent to which he used information technology to target crime. He used crime mapping and real-time information. He allocated police on the basis of where crimes were likely to occur and had occurred in the past. Given the slow development of the Garda computer network, people are reluctant to invest more, but I would urge that we spend much more on information technology. It will reap results. Kathleen O’Toole’s report called for a national computer aided despatch system, and it would make sense to gather data better and plan resources. It will free up members of the force and get them out on the beat, which makes sense.

There are more gardaí walking the streets at the moment, and the best asset of the force is its eyes and ears. I know that in Dún Laoghaire this approach is not only solving crime, it is also preventing crime from happening and long may that continue. However, we need a belt and braces approach. We need community policing, eyes and ears, and state-of-the-art computer technology. That will happen and Kathleen O’Toole’s report makes it much easier.

I have one small criticism of the Fine Gael Party motion. I am very critical of mandatory sentencing. The Judiciary is very experienced when deciding on what is appropriate. We are tying its hands with mandatory prison sentences. It does not make sense to me, but the intent behind the motion is commendable and it provides all of us with a common cause in fighting crime.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  I welcome the opportunity to take part in this timely debate. Next to economic matters, justice and law and order are very high on our agenda. We live in an era where crime is very much part of society. As Members of the Oireachtas, we have to respond and move with the dynamic nature in which the criminals carry out their evil acts. We have to keep ahead of them and implement laws that bring them to account.

We have to acknowledge the fine work that is done by the vast majority of our State agencies who are involved in law enforcement. That is not just the Garda Síochána, but agencies such as the Revenue Commissioners, the Customs Service, the Probation Service and so on.

Gangland activity is not exclusive to the capital and we have experienced it in my part of the country. Unfortunately and for all the wrong reasons, we know too much about it. However, it is fair to acknowledge that we have responded to the activities of the gangland people by bringing a number of amendments to our criminal justice legislation. It is positive to note that there are several files before the DPP on these activities, so hopefully we will see positive results flowing from that.

Every citizen in this country has such an important part to play. All too often people say that the law enforcement agencies are not doing enough and there are not enough gardaí and community police. We know that there are 14,500 gardaí and we can argue about statistics and numbers, but we cannot have people at every crossroads or every street corner. There is an obligation on every citizen to play their part. Unfortunately, there are members of society who do not do so. They fail to pass on information or assist our law enforcement agencies. It behoves all of us to encourage those people to get involved.

[119]I am a member of the joint policing committee in Limerick. It is a very useful forum and the interaction it brings to bear between Oireachtas Members, local representatives and the Garda Síochána is very good. We need to drill down further in this kind of local forum where people can interact and bring in more outside people. At our last meeting on the Limerick division, most of the headline areas experienced reductions in the levels of crime for 2009. The number of homicide offences was down by 17%. Assault causing harm was down by 17% as well. Minor assaults decreased by 8%. Harassment and related offences had a decrease of 23%. Burglary bucked the trend with an increase of 7%.

I represent a rural community in County Limerick. If a person commits a crime such as a burglary and is sentenced in court for that crime, we should look at taking that person’s driving licence away after serving the prison term, if that is what the court decides, because burglars use transport as part of the crime, so when they are released from prison they should lose their right to travel the roads. These roaming gangs that commit the burglaries are terrorising our local communities.

Returning to the crime levels in Limerick, theft was up by 2%, while controlled drug offences was also up. Discharge of firearms was down by 21%, criminal damage was down by 9% and public order had a slight increase of 2%. I acknowledge the work done by members of the Garda Síochána in the Limerick Garda division, which covers three districts in the county and two in the city. As public representatives we tried to assist them and they have been very helpful to us. I acknowledge their input.

Deputy Darragh O’Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  I am pleased to speak in support of the Government amendment to this Private Members’ motion. Like all Members, I wish to express my revulsion at the recent spate of gangland killings, many of which have been on the northside of Dublin close to my constituency. This includes one family that is very well known to me. It is a terrible indictment of some areas of society that life seems to have become so cheap to many of the callous criminals who operate in our country. They seem to have no regard for human life, nor for the suffering they leave behind for mothers, fathers, sons and daughters of the people they murder and shoot like dogs on the street. Condemnation is one thing; action is another. This Government is tackling crime at every stage but particularly serious organised gangland crime. Words are not important in this context; action is important and it is the only thing that will tackle the issue.

The motion tabled by Fine Gael fails to take note of the progress made in this area. It seems to be a stunt. Since 2007 the Government has been engaged in a number of key achievements in legislative terms and real terms in order to make this country a safer place. As other speakers have mentioned, the number of gardaí has steadily increased year on year, even since 2007. We have come through with a promise to increase Garda numbers to historically high levels. There were 14,500 gardaí at the end of 2009, compared to 13,755 at the end of 2007. Even in these difficult economic times, the Government sees tackling crime and supporting law enforcement agencies as crucial. Record numbers of new prison places have been provided by the Government and further capital investment of €30 million, including an extension to the Midlands Prison, is planned. The Government has maintained the funding of the Criminal Assets Bureau, which is doing a fantastic job and seized €7.5 million in 2008 from the proceeds of crime. This is tackling criminal gangs where it hurts. There is a 70% increase in the number of gardaí assigned to community policing. The list goes on. I refer in particular to the introduction of crucial legislation to tackle gangland crime, including the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act and the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.

[120]This evening I hope the Labour Party carefully assesses how it will vote. It has consistently called for stronger measures to tackle gangland crime. Every Member agrees with this call but when the Labour Party had an opportunity to do something about this, it voted against the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, which proposed significant extra powers to law enforcement agencies to tackle criminal gangs. The notable exception on that occasion was Deputy Tommy Broughan. Before Labour Party Members cast their votes, I hope they take the opportunity to rectify a clear mistake when they were talking out of both sides of their mouth. They put the civil rights of criminal gangs ahead of the civil rights of the law-abiding citizen.

I and this Government represent the community and the law-abiding citizen, not the criminals. The battle against crime is never-ending and we will never win it. We are committed to using the full power and support of State agencies against people who have no regard for human life. I commend the Garda Síochána for the work it does on behalf of the citizens of the State in keeping the streets safe. The force has a tough job to do. Members recognise how well gardaí do their jobs. This Government remains committed to doing everything it can in real terms and in legislative terms to support the fight against crime. I hope other parties will do something in real terms instead of coming out with fine statements. They could support legislation on the basis of what it will do for the citizen rather than the cheap political stunts of the Labour Party last year.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  I support the motion that condemns all unlawful killings and the criminal disregard for human life these demonstrate. I express sympathy to the families of all victims of such killings. I strongly support the work of the Garda Síochána and its specialist units, such as the organised crime unit, in its determined fight against gangland crime. I note the significant success of the Garda Síochána.

I have unequivocal and 100% support for the Garda Síochána at every level, on behalf of those who elected me in Tipperary South, for the work it does to combat all kinds of crime. The motion refers to a particularly heinous crime but from a community relations point of view, we must ensure that crime is dealt with from the most minor offence up. We must invest more in community gardaí because their work has paid off. They operate in Tipperary and their work has paid dividends because of the interaction with the community and the fact that they are regaining the respect for the Garda Síochána that should and must exist. I compliment the Garda Síochána on working closely with Muintir na Tíre and the national community alert organisations, of which I am a board member. By doing this, the Garda Síochána fosters a great degree of support from the public for its actions and hard work, which is often covert. No police force in any part of the world can work without the strong support of the public. Community alert organisations and neighbourhood watch groups working in conjunction with the Garda Síochána and Muintir na Tíre do an excellent job and foster this through school visits, Christmas card competitions, regional organisers and interaction with superintendents and sergeants. I compliment the groups on this aspect, which is vital. The Garda Síochána has an excellent detection rate. Let nobody say otherwise. It works tirelessly. All of kinds of crime are dealt with by the Garda Síochána, including more serious crime.

However, this work is sometimes without much success at court level because the Courts Service is in abysmal shape. I do not refer to the decisions but the delays in getting to court for the Garda Síochána. How frustrating the revolving door system must be for the Garda Síochána. How frustrating it must be when they bring in those who are charged to get hearings in court. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Some time ago I was before the courts and I would have waited ten years but for the fact I pushed and pushed to get a special sitting of the Circuit Court. Justice delayed is justice denied. Gardaí may have moved on, been transferred or may have retired before cases are resolved. People are entitled to have their day in court so [121]that they can be cleared of the suspected activities and have their good name restored or dealt with fairly by the court system. It must be frustrating for the Garda Síochána when they bring in people charged with crimes. They must prove this without a shadow of a doubt so they must be supported. We must have modern day respect and understanding for the courts system. It must be shaken up and the Judiciary needs refresher courses. The Courts Service systems must be examined so that it can provide support to the Garda Síochána when the latter has completed its detection of cases. In this way cases can be taken to court sooner rather than later and justice can be done.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  I wish to share time with Deputies Michael Noonan, Lucinda Creighton, John O’Mahony, Terence Flanagan and Pat Breen.

I commend Deputy Charles Flanagan for tabling this Private Members’ motion on behalf of the Fine Gael Party. In bringing various elements of gangland legislation before the Dáil last year, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform stated he could not stand by and allow our criminal justice system to be undermined. A previous Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform described gangland activity in Ireland as the last sting of a dying wasp. All this is fine rhetoric but in the rush to say the right things, this and the previous Government remain more concerned with perception than with substance. The criminal underworld in this State is not suffering from a recession. The drug-fuelled economy in which the gangsters operate is booming. Criminal gangs roam our streets and seem untouchable by the laws of the land. Five so-called gangland murders have taken place in this country in 2010. Far too often, innocent people have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and have tragically lost their lives.

There is no silver bullet or instant solution to solving gangland crime and it needs to be addressed in a number of different ways. Community policing is a vital, under-utilised tool in the fight against crime and in particular, gangland crime. Community policing should be at the heart of policing in Ireland. Communities throughout the country are demanding a more visible Garda presence, a more effective response to gun, gang and drug crime. At the moment, gardaí do not regard community policing as a career option or an area in which they can reasonably expect advancement. This must change. Garda organisational structures must be amended to reflect the focus on community-based policing. A special Garda rank should be created in order to encourage and incentivise the role of community gardaí. All the evidence shows that community policing works. I welcome the fact that the number of gardaí engaged in community policing is supposed to increase. We have been given a pledge by the Minister that the numbers will increase from 600 to 1,200. Additional community gardaí will garner more intelligence about criminals through closer relationships with the public. However, the extra community gardaí need to be appointed and put in place immediately and the creation of a special rank would be an incentive.

Another area requiring immediate action by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is with regard to the significant numbers of gardaí who have left the force in the past year in particular. Due to the number of members leaving, a total of 32% of the force is now under the age of 30 and approximately 47% have less than ten years’ experience. These statistics show that it is a very young and vibrant force offering much potential. However, allied to this is an exodus of experienced members which equates to a brain drain. Last year alone, three Assistant Commissioners, 12 chief superindents, 26 superintendents, 31 inspectors, 166 sergeants along with 466 gardaí, left the force. This has created a very serious situation. If these positions are not filled immediately, we run the risk of having a force with a serious deficit of leadership and experience. This has ramifications in the immediate term as to how serious crime and gangland crime are to be fought and it will provide an advantage to the criminals if the situation is left like this. I appeal to the Minister to ensure that all senior ranking vacancies in the Garda Síochána are filled immediately.

[122]I wish to raise the issue of youth justice. Criminal gangs are drawing children as young as ten years into their criminal web. I have brought to the attention of the Minister on previous occasions reports of criminal gangs grooming children to hold guns and transport drugs. There have been repeated reports of teenagers pleading guilty to possessing guns, going around in bullet-proof jackets and possessing drugs, including crack cocaine and heroin. Last year, I brought this matter to the attention of the Minister, when I raised it in the House. He replied that to his knowledge, this did not appear to be an issue but that he would keep the matter under review. Just two weeks’ ago, chief superintendent Gerry Phillips of the Dublin Garda division, spoke of a 14-year old holding guns and drugs for gang members in the hope of earning his stripes within his criminal gang.

Week after week, frightening court cases emerge involving gangs grooming children to run guns and drugs for criminal gangs. It is high time the Government acted. The crime of grooming children for the purposes of criminal activity should be introduced. Strict penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences, should be handed down to those crime bosses. Any gang members prepared to hide behind and use children, should be treated more severely by the courts using specific legislation. If the Minister does not do this, then the good work carried out in the area of juvenile justice runs the risk of being exploited and ultimately weakened. There will be no grand gesture or flashing lights solution to gangland crime.

It is interesting to note the parallels with our juvenile justice system. For the first time since 2003, youth crime is reported to have fallen and this did not happen by accident; it happened because of a combination of factors, including the introduction of the Children Act, the establishment of the Irish Youth Justice Service, together with a focus towards steering young offenders away from prosecution and towards rehabilitation instead. I also wish to acknowledge the work of juvenile liaison officers and the role of Garda youth diversion projects.

A long-term view is required. I ask the Minister to accept the Fine Gael Party motion.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  We have had many debates such as this in the House and this debate is timely. I thank Deputy Charles Flanagan for the opportunity to speak. On occasions like this it is useful to go back to first principles. The principle on which our criminal justice system is founded is in the personal rights of the Constitution. Article 40.3.20 states: “The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen”. In our system, the responsibility is on the shoulders of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, to ensure that this constitutional provision is provided to the citizens. We have to measure the Minister against how he has fulfilled this constitutional role.

When somebody’s life is taken through murder, it is the responsibility of the criminal justice system to vindicate the rights of the victim through the work of the Garda Síochána arresting and charging the perpetrator, convicting that person and keeping him or her in prison for sufficient time to pay for the crime. That is the system under which we live but the responsibility is on the shoulders of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and he has failed in this.

Last night, Deputy Charles Flanagan named 19 individual victims who got no vindication because nobody has been convicted for their murders. There has been no conviction on gun murders in gangland Ireland in 2007, 2008 and 2009. That is not a vindication under the Constitution of the lives of citizens.

The Minister is not protecting the lives of citizens when he will not replace with equally efficient managers the senior gardaí who have retired. The Minister is not protecting the lives of citizens when the present system is still porous and 2,000 mobile telephones were recovered in Irish prisons last year and gangs continue to be directed from inside prison walls. The Mini[123]ster is not doing his job when private airports all around the country still have no customs presence and when drugs, the underlying cause of the gangland murders, are freely available by all classes in society and in all communities, down to the remotest country villages.

The Minister is simply not doing his job in this regard. His response is the same as that of his predecessor, Mr. Michael McDowell, in introducing new legislation in reaction to every gangland murder, with each Bill promising to be the panacea. Before the summer recess the Minister introduced two legislative proposals, the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 and the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009. My party and I supported him in the House and in the media in bringing through that legislation and made our case against those who opposed the proposals. Yet not a single conviction has taken place and not a single case has been brought before the courts under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009. This was the legislation that made membership of a gang and conspiracy to act with criminals criminal offences. Yet nothing has happened. I do not know whether authorisation has been provided to senior gardaí under sections 4 and 6 of the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009. If so, the results have not been produced in evidence in any court case in the seven months since the legislation was enacted. Will the Minister of State indicate how many authorisations have been issued under sections 4 and 6 of that Act?

Surveillance is the way to go. What community gardaí glean as they move through estates, even though they are very welcome and efficient, will not help to meet the challenge of gangland crime. Surveillance is vital in order that it is not just the users and minor traffickers who are themselves drug addicts who are amenable to the law. Instead we must target the criminal bosses. Unfortunately, the Minister has thus far failed pathetically in that regard. I conclude by complimenting the efforts of the Garda Síochána, particularly in my own city where they have been effective. Almost all gangland murders in Limerick have been solved and the perpetrators are in prison.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  I join my colleagues in thanking Deputy Charles Flanagan for bringing this timely motion to the House. I agree with Deputy Noonan that we must go back to first principles. When I listen to debates in this Chamber on gangland and other violent crime, particularly drug-related crime, they always call to mind the then Fianna Fáil Opposition spokesman on justice, Deputy O’Donoghue, between 1994 and 1997 and his catch cry of “zero tolerance”. His consistent haranguing of the then Government over that period played no small part in Fianna Fáil’s election victory in 1997.

Any objective analysis, however, of the Government’s commitment to and ability to deal with crime since that time points to failure. Gangland crime has increased substantially, becoming more dangerous and vicious and impacting more lives than it did ten or 15 years ago. In 2009 there were 20 gun murders in the State and eight since the beginning of 2010, one quarter of which occurred in my constituency. There is almost a sense that both the public and the political system have washed their hands of the situation, a view that just as these gangs interact with each other and trade in drugs with each other, we should let them get on with ultimately killing each other. This view, however, fails to take account of the innocent bystanders affected by gangland crime, several of whom have been named in the course of this debate. One such innocent person has died in my constituency since the beginning of the year. Whatever about the criminals and murderers, we have a duty and responsibility as the State Legislature to protect those who are embroiled in this violence through no fault of their own. The Minister and his colleagues have the same duty as the Executive to ensure these people are protected.

What we have seen, however, is an abdication of duty on the part of the Government. That no convictions were secured in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for gun murders points not to a policy of zero tolerance but to a zero success rate. The Government, for a series of reasons, is losing miserably in the war against gangland crime. Deputy Noonan referred to the natural instinct [124]of Ministers for Justice, Equality and Law Reform simply to legislate in response to high-profile murders or incidents about which there is great public and media fuss. However, legislation is futile and worthless without enforcement. We have seen through the many Bills that were brought through this House during the lifetime of the last Government — we saw again with the recent legislation, which Fine Gael supported — that legislation does not necessarily lead to convictions. Without enforcement, all those legislative provisions come to nil. The other problem is the Government’s apparent policy of not replacing gardaí. In spite of the 2002 promise to recruit an additional 2,000 gardaí, retiring members of the force are not being replaced.

It is time to go a step further. We must not only introduce legislation but enforce it. I wholeheartedly support Fine Gael’s proposal for a 25-year minimum life sentence for perpetrators of these crimes. If it is to be ignored by the Judiciary, however, any such measure is pointless. Likewise, any legislative measure is pointless if it does not result in convictions. I hope the Government will bring into play measures that will strengthen the hand of the Garda Síochána in tackling gangland crime.

Deputy John O’Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  I thank Deputy Charles Flanagan for bringing forward this motion on behalf of the Fine Gael Party. Two issues are currently dominating people’s minds in this State. One is the economy and the other is law and order, and both of these are a source of fear and insecurity for many. The hundreds of thousands of people coping with mortgage arrears and job losses see the small contingent of criminal thugs holding the country to ransom and wreaking havoc throughout the State. The response of these criminal gangs to the recession has been to increase their murder rate.

The Garda Síochána is coping as best it can with the onslaught. At a local level I welcome the imminent deployment of the rapid response unit in Claremorris to assist in curbing gangland crime in the region. More must be done. The achievements of the Criminal Assets Bureau show what can be done when proper structures and resources are in place, as was done in this case by a Fine Gael-led Government. The Garda has shown again and again that it is capable of great success provided adequate resources and structures are in place.

  8 o’clock

The reality in regard to gangland crime, however, is that the Government and the Minister are losing the battle, as evidenced by the increase of 18% in robberies of banks and post offices, of 80% in kidnappings and abductions and of 12% in aggravated burglaries. The bottom line is that these criminals have no respect for human life. Eight murders have been committed by these criminals so far in January. The conviction rate is low. Even when they are put in prison, they seem to use it as a headquarters from which to direct their operations on the outside. There was a time when crimes of this nature were confined to urban areas. They are now found in all parts of the country. There were two stabbings and a murder in County Mayo on a single weekend last August. I was shocked last week to read a report which stated that the Garda does not have the technology it needs, including computers and fax machines.

I will conclude by mentioning some other measures that need the immediate attention of the Minister and the Government. Senior and middle ranking positions in the Garda have not been filled. Over 30 rank and file gardaí in County Mayo retired last year and many have not been replaced. The net effect is that many rural Garda stations in my constituency have been closed by default. The Garda authorities do not have the numbers to deploy because of retirements and the shortage of recruits coming out at the other end. The force is losing people with vast experience who would offer a guiding hand to younger members of the force. The net effect is that many rural Garda stations are unmanned and have to be serviced from local Garda district headquarters. The situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I could give the [125]House a list of Garda stations in County Mayo, including those in Knock, Ballindine, Claremorris and Hollymount, that are unmanned at present. Rural gardaí used to live in the communities they served — they are now present in those communities during working hours only.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Hear, hear.

Deputy John O’Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  Fine Gael, in power, would give such gardaí the incentives they need to live in they areas they serve. I commend this motion to the House.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  I thank Deputy Charles Flanagan for bringing this important and crucial motion before the House this evening. The Fine Gael motion highlights the ongoing crisis caused by the drug-fuelled gangland crime that has sadly taken over our streets. It is constructive because it outlines the measures that need to be adopted by the Government if it is to tackle this serious problem head-on. Gangland violence is rapidly increasing in this country, sadly. It is outrageous that there were five gangland-related murders in the first three weeks of 2010. It highlights the fact that our streets are controlled by gangs, rather than by the Garda. The force urgently needs more resources and manpower to tackle this gangland crisis. Sadly, two of the recent murders took place in my own constituency of Dublin North-East. An innocent man lost his life when he asked the occupants of an apartment in Grattan Wood, Donaghmede, to reduce the volume of their music. Another man was gunned down as he walked to his girlfriend’s home at Macroom Road in Coolock. It is evident from such killings that these criminals place no value on life. They know they will get away with such crimes, or will not be caught in the first instance.

Real people in real communities are living in fear of what is going on. They are annoyed with the Minister and the Government for not doing enough to tackle these criminals and ensure these murders do not happen. It is blatantly clear that the Garda is not being properly resourced and senior gardaí are not being replaced. The failure of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to impose proper sentencing for murder has increased the number of such crimes in this country. A life sentence should mean life. There is an urgent need for a discussion with the Judiciary on the sentences being handed down, which often do not accord with what they should be.

Fine Gael proposes that certain measures should be implemented to deal with gangland crime. We want a minimum mandatory life sentence of 25 years to be imposed on gang members. We want 24-hour surveillance to be implemented in all our airports and ports. It is a scandal that there is a proper X-ray machine in just one of Ireland’s ports. Such facilities are needed to locate the drugs that are coming in, which are obviously fuelling the crisis in this country. Drugs are the real scourge of this society. The sooner this issue is dealt with, the better. Community policing should be the centre of all policing, as previous speakers have said. Sadly, just 6% of the members of the Garda are involved in community policing. That percentage has to be increased as a matter of urgency. I hope the Minister will listen to what Fine Gael has been saying. As a party, we have traditionally been strong on law and order. I commend my colleague, Deputy Charles Flanagan, for introducing this motion.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate, which is important, as other speakers have said. That there were 53 murders, or one a week, in Ireland last year is a very serious matter. As well as the increase in gangland crime, there has been a marked increase in aggravated robberies and assaults. We all know that such crime is being fed by the drug problem that is causing havoc in many of our communities. A young man from my parish, Mr. Brian Casey, lost his life as a result of an callous and senseless assault in the county town of Ennis over the Christmas period. We share the grief of his family and other families that have been through similar nightmares.

[126]There has been a 28% increase in the number of drug detections in County Clare over the past 12 months. The figures speak for themselves. That 88 people were picked up for a drug offences in County Clare last year shows the extent of the problem in the county and in the country as a whole. On local radio today, I heard a psychiatrist from County Clare warning that lives will be lost if head shops are not regulated. I welcome the fact that the Minister, Deputy Mary Harney, has said that regulations will be put in place before next June.

No community is immune from the impact of the growing problem of drug-fuelled crime. There have been many robberies in Shannon, including aggravated robberies in businesses, over recent times. They are all fuelled by drugs. Shannon is not alone. Elderly people in isolated rural areas are being preyed on as well. Many of these criminals dress up as council workers or gardaí to take advantage of elderly people. They wear disguises and tell elderly people they can help to fix broken pipes or check to see if they are safe. Some 20 personal robberies were recorded in the Clare Garda division in 2009, compared to just six in 2008. The reality is that robberies are on the increase.

I wish to commend the Garda on the excellent work its does. I wish to give an example that shows it will do the job if it gets the resources it needs. The number of public order offences in Ennis used to be approximately 19 per week; last year, following the introduction of CCTV in the town, it fell to just four per week. The gardaí are able to monitor the situation in the town from the Garda station. As soon as trouble is noticed, they can deploy patrol cars to the affected areas. If the resources are put in place, the Garda can do its job.

The best way to police communities is to put gardaí back on the beat on the streets. As other speakers have said, the recruitment freeze has had a huge effect on Garda numbers. In the past 12 months, some 800 gardaí have retired from the force. It was anticipated that just 400 would retire. We do not have a chief superintendent in the Clare division at the moment. I hope that position will be filled in the near future. As I do not have the time to say everything else I would like to say, I will finish by pointing out the need to address the fact that many crimes are committed by people who are out on bail. The rule of law must be implemented. A woman in Sixmilebridge was murdered a few years ago by somebody who was out on bail. These issues must be addressed. I urge the Government to take Deputy Charles Flanagan’s proposals on board. We need to work together to solve the huge crime problem that exists at the moment, which is partly fuelled by the recession.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  I ask the Chair to excuse my croak. This useful debate has given the House an opportunity to address the important topic of gangland crime. It is right that the State’s response to these crimes is discussed here and elsewhere. We should reflect on the further action that is needed in response to an evolving situation.

In so doing, however, one must not lose sight of a most important fact which is that the people responsible for these crimes are those who commit them. Gun crime, organised crime and drug-related crime are inextricably linked. The Minister has reiterated that he attaches the highest priority to tackling these types of crime and bringing those involved in such activities to justice and this is reflected in the priorities he has set for the Garda Síochána.

I wish to say a few words, as promised, about customs controls. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that these controls are risk-based and a permanent customs presence is in place at major ports and airports. Controls at smaller ports and airports are carried out by mobile customs enforcement staff, whose attendance is selective and targeted, based on analysis and evaluation of national and international seizure trends, traffic frequency, routes and other risk indicators. Attendance can also be as a result of specific intelligence. Traffic with origins and destinations with a high-risk rating attracts particular interest. The approach is to balance the [127]principle of freedom of movement within the EU of people and goods with the need to control smuggling and enforce prohibitions and restrictions.

I have been assured by the Revenue Commissioners that while the situation is kept under review, they are satisfied with the current level of customs controls at these locations. In particular, they are satisfied that the risk-based approach remains valid and that the controls applied are on a par with and may even exceed those of many other EU member states. While Revenue’s customs service has primary responsibility for the detection and seizure of controlled drugs at importation, there is a high degree of co-operation between all of the enforcement agencies of the State in the fight against the importation of illicit drugs. In particular, Revenue has good working relationships with the Garda Síochána and the Naval Service and a joint task force arrangement is in place to enhance and support these relationships with regular contact and co-operation between the agencies.

Regarding the smaller aerodromes, it should be noted that some are licensed by the Irish Aviation Authority but there are a number where, because of the limited nature of the activity at the aerodrome, a licensing requirement does not arise. Irrespective of the licensing situation, both Revenue’s customs service and the Garda Síochána are conscious of the need to monitor activity at such smaller aerodromes. Whereas both agencies have distinct operational protocols and priorities, they adopt a collaborative and complementary approach to areas of common interest. For example, during 2008 they held a series of joint regional meetings with the smaller airport operators, aimed specifically at increasing the operators’ awareness that their facilities could be used by drug traffickers and offering advice on minimising risk.

Revenue continues to upgrade its equipment and technology in the fight against illicit imports. Last year saw the delivery of a second purpose-built customs cutter, RCC Faire, which is being introduced as a further development of Revenue’s response to the problem of drugs importations and other smuggling via the Irish coastline. The RCC Faire’s sister vessel is RCC Suirbhéir, which was the first customs cutter in the State and was launched in Cork in June 2004. The main function of the Revenue cutters is to monitor the coastline and search suspicious vessels. The arrival of RCC Faire now ensures that our maritime presence will be much more visible than heretofore. It will enable more effective coastal patrols and increase our capacity to contribute to international operations

A further important development in 2009 was the delivery of a second X-ray container scanner to complement the original scanner first deployed in 2006. The original machine has proved its worth as a drug interdiction resource, and has contributed to the seizure of significant quantities of drugs and other contraband. The deployment of a second scanner is seen as a significant increase in resources for Irish customs and should serve to strengthen our national controls. The customs service has 13 detector dog teams in the Dublin, east-south east, south west and Border-midlands-west regions. The dogs are used for the detection of drugs, tobacco and cash. The dogs teams are also used in Garda drugs searches, if requested. The Garda dog units in the Dublin metropolitan and southern regions are an integral part of policing. The dogs are trained to detect heroin, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs in indoor and outdoor situations, as well as firearms and explosives. The Irish Prison Service utilises a drug detection dog service at all closed prisons as part of the screening process for persons entering the prisons. This serves to underline the value and protection provided by animals that deserve in many contexts their title of man’s best friend.

Internationally, Irish customs participates in the fight against drug smuggling through its involvement with Europol in The Hague and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre — Narcotics, MAOC-N, in Lisbon. Irish customs officers are based in these locations and contribute their expertise to the international response to the threat posed by illicit drugs. The assignment of staff to these international agencies is seen as an important and necessary response to [128]the drugs menace. In 2008, the role played by MAOC-N in support of Operation Sea Bight, in which cocaine with an estimated street value of €105 million was intercepted on the high seas on board the yacht Dances with Waves, served to underline the value of participation in these international agencies.

Deputy Michael D’Arcy: Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  I wish to share time with Deputy Charles Flanagan.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Michael D’Arcy: Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  It is clear that Government platitudes and promises made to date have had no effect in dealing with this grave threat to our society. The Government policies that have led to an absence of gardaí on the ground to interact with citizens in their communities have created a vacuum that has been filled by thugs who have no regard for authority or for their fellow citizens. The Government’s response has been to effect some changes to the law but this has had little or no effect as clearly, gangland murders are on the increase as society breaks down in parts of the country. These thugs believe themselves to be above the law because so many of them have got away with murder. Even when caught, they are made into macabre celebrities who make headline news and tabloid front pages. Court appearances now are used to enhance their street credibility. The Government has presided over the degeneration of society to such an extent that thugs and murderers become heroes among their peers. This is a society in which the Garda Síochána has lost all respect in those communities in which gardaí cannot now enter to police unless they are armed and in large numbers and in which there appears to be an unending supply of unlicensed firearms and prohibited drugs available to whomsoever wants them.

There can be no doubt but that the Government and the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, have failed in this regard. However, I remember in particular another Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform who spoke of the last sting of a dying wasp. Now however, we have a thriving swarm of sworn killers and pathological murderers who kill without remorse. This is not a situation the Government can blame on international events that are outside its control. It has presided and continues to preside over a society that is disintegrating in parts. Families grieve while Ministers wring their hands and propose platitudes. These thugs are terrorising the good people of Ireland and are getting away with it. The only group that has responsibility in this regard is the Fianna Fáil-led coalition and its policyless strategy.

As the laws have been passed and the judges and courts are in place, why is the Government unable to use them to good effect? The obvious answer is that the Government has so mismanaged the people’s Garda Síochána, which protects us as citizens, that the force has lost touch with the people on the ground of whose peace they are the guardians. The Garda is without that valuable local intelligence and its absence from areas in which large numbers of people reside has dislocated it from the very people it exists to protect. This is gangland warfare with criminal thugs on one side and armed members of the Garda emergency response units on the other. While life sentences already exist for serious crime, the Garda requires evidence to convict those thugs who are caught and to acquire such evidence, the force must regain the respect and support of the good people who live in the areas in which criminal gangs now are in control. The Garda must retake such estates by deploying on the ground and this will require numbers and resources. Had the Government not squandered billions of euro, it would be possible to take back such estates from the criminal gangs and win this war. Instead, experience and expertise are haemorrhaging from the force. Apparently, overtime has been banned and [129]days off in lieu are being offered in exchange. Instead, days on should be required to fight such subversion of law and order on behalf of the good people of Ireland. Moreover, the sentences should be increased by all means.

I wish to touch on two further aspects of this issue, the first of which pertains to the education of children in such areas and the provision of services, social workers and gardaí. There is an opportunity to provide extra pay to the civil and public servants who work in and can affect those areas. It is inconceivable that a garda of a particular rank in a sleepy area in the country gets the same pay as gardaí who take their life in their hands going into those areas. The same is true of teachers and social workers. The problem escalates and the Fianna Fáil Minister does not know what to do. How much longer do we have to witness this abject failure and hand-wringing while the young people of Ireland die on our streets and lives are destroyed by guns and drugs? It is a shame on this Government which should resign if it has any sense of moral responsible. Any Minister or Government which allows this to happen to such a level to a generation has no business being in office. Let us get on with it.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  I thank and pay tribute to all those from all sides of the House who made a contribution to this important debate on gangland crime. Last evening, I highlighted a vast range of problems that I believe are nourishing and fuelling gangland criminality in this jurisdiction. The Minister, in his speech, accused me of being selective and then proceeded to give what I can only describe as a highly selective list of what he believes are his successes or achievements. For example, he patted himself on the back for not cutting the budget of the Criminal Assets Bureau, despite an economic downturn and then went on to note that the CAB recovered almost €7.5 million of proceeds of crime in 2008 and collected more than €6 million in taxes in the same period. The Criminal Assets Bureau is more than paying its way so deciding not to cut its budget is common sense and the very least that we might expect from the Government.

Whenever the Opposition raises the spectre of issues such as gangland crime in the House, the Minister’s automatic response is to complain that the Opposition is attacking the Garda. In the world of the Minister he is the noble defender of the Garda while those in the Opposition are mean-minded critics. This is typical Fianna Fáil spin doctoring. The facts speak for themselves when it comes to the Minister’s support for the Garda Síochána. He has styled himself as having done his bit when it comes to gangland by bringing in tough new laws, suggesting that the Garda has new laws at its disposal and that it is now up to it to sort out the problem. He raised expectations to huge effect in the aftermath and during the course of the earth-shattering — as he described it himself — package of legislation last year. However, he has remained silent on the gaping hole in the upper echelons of the Garda Síochána and on the Victorian resources that it has at its disposal.

It is not an invention of the Opposition that there are more 700 vacancies in the Garda force, a significant number of them at senior level, which I listed last night. Nor is it the fault of the Opposition or my fabrication that the Minister is moving at a snail’s pace to address the matter and, even at that, he is talking about filling 170 vacancies. What about the other 538?

It would be hard to find a more fair-minded and impartial commentator on the Garda Síochána than Kathleen O’Toole, chief inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate. Her most recent report makes clear that gardaí operate at a significant disadvantage with severely outmoded resourcing issues. That is a fact and not an invention of the Opposition.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Hear, hear.

[130]Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  It is a truism that if gardaí are to hope to have a fighting chance in tackling gangsters, they must, like their opponents, be equipped with top of the range technology.

Last night, the Minister congratulated himself on allocating resources to the State forensic laboratory. However, he did not mention how many of Professor Kopp’s recommendations have yet to be implemented. Professor Kopp was another professional from outside Ireland who was aghast at the prehistoric services that exist here, in this case in the field of forensics.

The Minister congratulated himself on the fact that mobile telephones were being seized in prisons under his watch. He made no mention of being concerned at the fact that more than 2,000 telephones got into Irish prisons without difficulty in the past 12 months. He further stated, “The pressure we are experiencing on our prison accommodation is in many cases a reflection of those Garda successes”. What about the 3,500 people imprisoned last year for failing to pay court-ordered fines, including more than 60 who ignored fines for not having a TV licence? Is it not more accurate to say that those guilty of minor offences are clogging up our prisons while murderers walk free on every street in this city and beyond?

The Minister discounted Fine Gael’s proposal for a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence for murder, boasting that no prisoner convicted of such murders has been released early by him or his immediate predecessors. Such a boast fails to recognise that gangland killers are being released without serving appropriate sentences. The Minister will have an opportunity to respond to my following point tomorrow during Question Time. This week, a prisoner — I am reluctant to name names but last night the Minister stated that sentences were being served for gangland convictions — Paul Coffey, the only man to be charged in connection with the murder in 2000 that ignited the vicious feud between the Keane and Ryan criminal gangs in Limerick, was freed from prison. He was sentenced to 15 years, seven of which were suspended. The murder for which Paul Coffey was convicted arose from a dispute about drug dealing and has resulted in 20 subsequent gangland murders in Limerick. Paul Coffey is out of prison after a pitifully short sentence which underlines what we stated last night and reflects the status quo that the Minister tried to defend.

Fine Gael does not claim to have all the solutions to the gangland crime crisis. Our role as the Opposition is to highlight Government failings and to propose solutions. That is what this debate is about. There are a number of steps which, if taken, would assist greatly in tipping the balance in favour of the State and victims and would recognise what the former Minister for Justice, Deputy Michael Noonan, rightly refers to as the constitutional provision which underscores that the fundamental duty of the Government, State and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is the protection of its citizens.

There are deficiencies which must be addressed, the most obvious of which relates to the point raised by the Minister of State, Deputy Mansergh, on the non-existent customs presence at many small airports throughout the State. They are unlicensed airstrips, which are not policed and do not have any form of customs presence, which receive international flights from other jurisdictions. The absence of a permanent container scanner at all sea ports and the absence of sufficient patrol boats to police the coast are other huge deficiencies that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

I believe a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years needs to attach to gangland killings. A few years behind bars having the good life with a flat screen plasma TV, a mobile telephone, a ready supply of drugs and, in one instance, even a pet budgie, is not a sufficient deterrent. [131] For criminal gangsters, life is cheap and the State is not disproving their theory by failing to attach sufficient sanctions to cold-blooded gangland murders.

We require a range of measures which address deficiencies at the point of entry to our prisons, including full body scanners. It is not acceptable that contraband, particularly mobile phones in a gangland context, can easily flow into prisons. I am reluctant to name names in the House but it is worth naming Brian Rattigan, a senior gang boss who was found with a mobile telephone in prison. This undermines the entire system.

All senior Garda vacancies need to be filled immediately. Criminals are not taking a sabbatical while the Minister fumbles to get his house in order.

A glance at the location of gangland killings shows consistent patterns which reflect the geographic areas in which gangs operate. Large numbers of community gardaí need to be allocated to these areas to gather intelligence and win the trust and confidence of the majority of law abiding people. Fine Gael has a policy on community policing which proposes a range of incentives to make it an attractive option for gardaí and a worthwhile proposition for the Garda Commissioner.

Contrary to the Minister’s contention, this motion is not opportunistic. What sort of parliamentarians would we be if five gangland murders in the first three weeks of the year did not ignite debate in this House? Quite simply, we would be failing in our duty as public representatives. Communities throughout the State are being ravaged by drugs. In some estates, there is constant fear of another killing. People in these communities are rightly fearful as the list of innocent victims of gangland crime lengthens. We in Fine Gael do not claim to have all the answers but we are willing to put our cards on the table and make proposals that we believe can form part of a solution to the horrific carnage inflicted by criminal gangs on communities in this State.

Amendment put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 81; Níl, 69.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall. Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine.
Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan. Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael.
Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor. Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael. Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil.
Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Zoom on George Lee  Lee, George. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan.
Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

[133]The Dáil divided: Tá, 79; Níl, 69.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall. Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine.
Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary. Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor. Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael. Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil.
Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Zoom on George Lee  Lee, George. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan.
Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Question declared carried.


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