Written answers

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Joint Policing Committees

9:00 pm

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 404: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the evaluation of the joint policing committees pilot initiative has been completed; when he will make an announcement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12955/08]

Photo of Brian Lenihan JnrBrian Lenihan Jnr (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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Joint Policing Committees are provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005, and there are currently 29 Committees established in a pilot phase. They operate under guidelines issued by my predecessor as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in May 2007, following consultations with the Ministers for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The purpose of the pilot phase is to gain experience from the operation of a number of Committees in a variety of local authority areas before rolling them out to all local authority areas in the State.

As part of an evaluation of the operation of the Committees in the pilot phase and of the guidelines, my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and I hosted a consultation seminar on 29 November, 2007 with participants in the pilot Committees to consider the lessons from the operation of the Committees to date and receive the views of the participants. I have also consulted directly with the Committees' stakeholders.

Officials in my Department, working with An Garda Síochána and the Departments of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, are currently working on revising the guidelines in the light of the outcomes of the evaluation process. Following the consultation with my two Ministerial colleagues provided for in the legislation, I intend to issue revised guidelines to enable the roll out of the Committees to all local authorities in the State to take place shortly, and I will make an announcement at that stage.

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