Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Justice and Equality
The Deputy will, of course, appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the allocation of resources within An Garda Síochána and I have no role, as Minister, in such operational matters.
The possibility of a dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit, funded by the insurance industry, arose from Recommendation 26 of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance, published in January 2017.
As I outlined in this House on 17 January this year, my colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Mr Michael D'Arcy, T.D, met with the Garda Commissioner on 13 December 2018 to discuss matters relating to insurance fraud and the work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group.
At this meeting, the Commissioner indicated his preference that, in principle, An Garda Síochána should not be funded by any source other than the Exchequer for the purposes of tackling insurance fraud. I understand, however, that the Commissioner is continuing to look at establishing an improved insurance fraud investigative capacity within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), taking account of available resources and competing demands.
I have previously outlined the considerable progress that has been made in enhancing the level of engagement and cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the insurance industry in relation to combating insurance fraud. Arising from the cost of insurance review, the GNECB and Insurance Ireland’s Anti-Fraud Forum have committed to meet on a regular basis in order to discuss and act upon current and ongoing general issues concerning insurance fraud. I welcome this enhanced co-operation, which will be very important in tackling the issue of fraudulent claims.