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Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Michael Healy-Rae: The policing of County Kerry is an enormous task, from Valentia Island to Tarbert and from Gneeveguilla and Scartaglin to Ventry. It is a large area and significant operation, and I thank rank and file gardaí as well as those in the senior ranks for the job they are doing with the resources they have been given. Past Ministers for Justice visited County Kerry and met local...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Cathal Crowe: Deputy McGuinness is sharing time with Deputy Alan Farrell.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

John McGuinness: This legislation is a nod in the right direction in the context of reforming the administration of the Garda Síochána. If we want to learn something about the reform that is required, though, one need look no further than the case of the death of Shane O'Farrell. The courts, the Garda and the Director of Public Prosecution's office were at fault. There is nothing in this Bill...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Alan Farrell: I appreciate the opportunity to contribute on the Bill.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Michael Collins: I, too, have great reservations about the new divisional structures. I need to see that they will not dilute services on the ground to the people of west Cork who have seen a dilution of services in recent years. Some years ago, we had the closure of many Garda stations under the then Fine Gael-led Government. This led to the decimation of rural Ireland and started a flood of closures...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Richard O'Donoghue: I welcome this legislation, which will reduce bureaucracy and enable Garda to be more robust and agile when dealing with crime. I understand the Bill proposes to free up gardaí so that we will have more front-line staff. I also welcome the leaner management structure. Newcastle West is the largest county town in Limerick yet its Garda headquarters is in two areas. Administration...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Chris Andrews: I would like to acknowledge the huge importance of community gardaí. I would also like to acknowledge the work and professionalism of former Superintendent Joe Gannon, who has recently retired from his role in Pearse Street. I also acknowledge the huge good work that community Garda Derek Dempsey has done over 34 years of service in Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount. I wish them both...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Deputy Andrews mentioned the retirement of Superintendent Joe Gannon. It should be acknowledged here on the floor of the House that in his role in Pearse Street, he was of inordinate assistance and help to us over his period of service there. The House has reason to be grateful to him.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Chris Andrews: We might send him a letter to acknowledge that.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: We will.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Chris Andrews: Thank you.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: We move to the Rural Independent Group. I call Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Mattie McGrath: I too want to be associated with the comments on that retirement. I thank all the staff who look after us here on both sides of the building and around the building. They have always been more than helpful and courteous. I am a big supporter of An Garda Síochána and community alert, and a big believer given my own village of Caisleán Nua na Súire had the second...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Deputy Costello is sharing with Deputy Cathal Crowe. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Patrick Costello: Like previous speakers, I agree that this is a welcome Bill in terms of its reform of Garda structures. Many Members have spoken about the lack of community gardaí and the lack of gardaí on the ground in general. The Dublin metropolitan region has made a lot of strides over the years towards small-area policing. This needs proper resources and more community gardaí....

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Cathal Crowe: I fully support the Garda Síochána (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021. Most people will support it. I hope it will deliver more front-line policing, which everyone wants. I wish to make a number of points. The Limerick Garda division covers the county and city of Limerick, but a considerable part of it stretches into County Clare and many of the gardaí that are...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Seán Canney: I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill and make some comments on the situation of the Garda. It is a very serious concern to me that policing in Ireland is changing so much and so fast. It has changed dramatically in recent years. The concept of the garda on the beat or on the street has more or less disappeared. Community policing has been very much scaled back, unnecessarily...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Johnny Mythen: Sinn Féin is broadly in favour of this Bill. It includes major changes in the structures of An Garda Síochána and it is complex, to say the least. Moving from districts to divisions is a significant step which will see changes among the rank and file and in respect of some duties, functions and supports in each division. However, I am from County Wexford, as is the Minister...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Michael Lowry: The aims of this Bill are to introduce structural changes to provide more front-line gardaí. The plan is to increase Garda visibility and provide a wider range of policing services for local communities. In simple terms, this Bill aims to streamline services. Its objective is to facilitate the roll-out of the new Garda operating model as part of the overall reform of An Garda...

Garda Siochana (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021: Second Stage (22 Sep 2021)

Thomas Gould: We are supporting this Bill but we may bring amendments later on. A new Garda unit was set up in Cork city and as a result there was a 13% increase in drug seizures for sale and supply, as well as success in tackling knife crime and knife seizures. This is only the tip of the iceberg but it goes to show what can be accomplished when resources, like a sergeant and eight gardaí are put...

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