Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
225. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the remit of Operation Gull; the amount of Garda resources allocated to same; the number of persons that have been detained as part of its remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51457/17]
An initiative, entitled Operation ‘Gull,’ between the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the UK Immigration Service was commenced in 2003 by the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the UK Immigration Service to combat immigration abuses within the Common Travel Area, with checks conducted at ports and airports in both jurisdictions.
These operations have been conducted for a number of years in Ireland under Operation ‘Sonnet’ which is specifically aimed to target, detect, and prevent illegal immigration into this State via the Common Travel Area. These are targeted operations in addition to the day to day immigration controls in place to maintain the integrity of the Common Travel Area.
I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the information requested by the Deputy in relation to Operation Gull is not readily available for the entire period in question and would require the expenditure of a disproportionate and inordinate amount of Garda resources and time which could not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources.
However, information for the past three years under operation Sonnet is provided in tables below.
Numbers of detection under Operation Sonnet for the years 2015-2017
|Year||No. of detections|
|2017 to date||22|
The number of operations held each year is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána in consultation with the UK Border Authorities taking into account matters such as emerging patterns of immigration abuses, etc. within the Common Travel Area.
In relation to resources, I am advised by An Garda Síochána that it is not possible to provide the details requested by the Deputy in the time available. However, by way of example, a breakdown of the resources utilised in one operation on 25 September 2015 which included border checks carried out at Dundalk and Cavan/Monaghan is as follows: 1 Detective Superintendent, 2 Inspectors, 8 Sergeants and 45 Gardaí.