Thursday, 23 June 2005
Brian Lenihan Jnr (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Health and Children; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
It is one thing for the Houses of the Oireachtas to enact legislation and another to implement it in a practical scheme. The authority does exist and is located in Tipperary town. It has a staff complement of eight at present. I assure the Deputy that upon the enactment of the legislation this matter was given a high priority in the Department. The necessary arrangements were put in place to establish the authority as a decentralised authority in Tipperary town. A great deal of work and effort was put in by the offices of the Department to see that it happened.
As outlined in the reply, the authority has decided to commence licensing the private security contractors in October of this year. The Private Security Authority will commence with sectors for which standards have been developed. On this basis the authority proposes to commence licensing contractors providing door supervisors and security guard services from October. That will be the first sector tackled by the authority.
I acknowledge the concerns of the Deputy on the infiltration of this industry by questionable persons. I am not in a position to confirm this to the House but I will draw the attention of the Minister to the concerns of the Deputy. It is a valid concern and it is a matter that requires priority.
The establishment of any authority in the public sector takes a period of time. That is what has happened here. The necessary buildings have been secured, the initial staff has been allocated and licensing will start this year. The extension of the licensing will be done on a phased basis and all private security employees and companies will be licensed by the end of 2007. That is the work plan set up by the authority and its decision is that the matter of greatest concern in terms of public order is to prioritise licensing. We empowered it to make this decision by enacting this legislation.