Thursday, 7 November 2019
Department of Justice and Equality
91. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he has met with Irish Rail and-or the NTA in respect of forming a dedicated transport police service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45883/19]
I, along with my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD, co-chair the Ministerial Committee on Road Safety. I meet regularly in that forum with some of the key stakeholders in the field of transport, including the Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, the Health and Safety Authority, the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, the Department of Health, the City and County Managers' Association and the Attorney General.
However in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy, I would point out that the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters.
In terms of contact by An Garda Síochána with Irish Rail or other transport operators - I am advised by Garda management that it engages extensively with transport operators and that a range of regional and local operations have been put in place to address incidents and issues that have arisen at specific locations. I am further informed that there is ongoing communication between An Garda Síochána and the respective control centres, and access to good quality CCTV helps provide assistance to Gardaí when investigating such incidents.
In terms of safety on public transport generally, I am advised by the Garda authorities that Operation Twin Track is a Community Engagement & Rail Safety Policing Initiative conducted in partnership between An Garda Síochána and other Public Transportation stakeholders such as Iarnród Éireann, DART Services, and Transdev [Luas].
Its purpose is to provide High Visibility Policing of Rail and light Rail transport within the DMR region and nationwide and to deliver crime prevention advice. Local Crime Prevention Officers and Community Policing Gardaí operated community engagement/crime prevention stands with support from national units at Connolly and Heuston Station on 13 September 2019.
I am informed that a multi-agency review was conducted to examine the effectiveness of this operation and that it is agreed that An Garda Síochána will continue to proactively engage with public transportation stakeholders and providers to conduct further similar operations.
Finally, I would like to confirm that the resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. I am also pleased to have secured an additional €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year. The Commissioner is responsible for the efficient use of these resources and I am assured that Garda management keeps the distribution of these resources under continual review, to ensure their optimum use.