Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Question 197: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of criminal acts carried out by known members of criminal gangs in each of the past 12 months to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28788/10]
Question 198: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the efforts he has made to combat the ongoing activity of criminal gangs; the way this has impacted on such criminal activity in each of the past 12 months to date; if further specific measures are required or contemplated to deal with the full extent of such criminal activity as identified during this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28789/10]
Question 208: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to a recent parliamentary question on the way in which records are not kept of membership of criminal gangs, the way it was intended to specifically target membership of criminal gangs by way of specific legislation; if any changes have been made or are proposed in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28821/10]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 197, 198 and 208 together.
I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 81 of today's date. I am advised by the Garda Authorities that it is not possible to provide the information requested by the Deputy. Due to the fluid nature of the membership of criminal gangs it is not always possible to ascribe specific crimes to the activities of members of those gangs.
An Garda Síochána continue to utilise all available legislative provisions available to them in their pursuit of those involved in criminal gangs. The additional legislative provisions introduced by the Oireachtas in 2007 and 2009 which amend the Criminal Justice Act 2006 will greatly assist Gardaí in relation to the problem of organised crime and will help them to further develop and implement strategies to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks through the use of advanced analytical and intelligence methods. The use of targeted intelligence led operations will facilitate the early intervention of Gardaí and help prevent such crimes.
Where there is justification and a legal basis, those suspected of involvement in criminal activity are arrested, detained and questioned in relation to specific crime. A member of An Garda Síochána must, at all times, have reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has been involved in criminal activity before they can arrest and question any person in relation to criminality.
There are currently a number of initiatives underway targeting the activities of Organised Crime Groups, the focus of which is to gather evidence on which it is envisaged that charges under the recently enacted legislation may be directed by the Law Officers. A number of these initiatives are at an advanced stage and investigation files have been submitted to the Law Officers for direction. In other cases, files are being prepared for submission to the Law Officers. Also four persons have recently appeared before the Courts charged with offences under the 2009 legislation relating to participation in organised crime activity. As these cases are currently before the Courts, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.