Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

An Garda Síochána

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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177. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí within the Garda national cyber-crime bureau; the current number of vacancies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30191/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business, including the distribution and stationing of Garda members throughout the State, including to specialist units within the organisation. As Minister, I have no role in these independent functions.

An Garda Síochána has significantly stepped up its dedicated resources in the cyber area in recent years and is continuing to grow its capabilities in this area. The Garda Commissioner established a dedicated Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) last summer, led by a Detective Chief Superintendent.

GNCCB is responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime incidents in the State. Cybercrime generally involves incidents where the internet, information and communication technology (ICT) systems or digital devices play a significant role in the commission of a criminal offence. GNCCB works collaboratively with local and national Garda units along with national and international stakeholders to reduce the threat and impact of cybercrime on individuals and organisations.

GNCCB is now in expansion phase, with increases of nearly 80 additional staff planned between this year and 2022, with 25 of these already in place. I am advised that this expansion of GNCCB will include the recruitment of 20 civilian expert posts at engineer grade.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that on 12 April 2021, 25 additional sworn Garda members were allocated to GNCCB, comprising 4 Detective Sergeants and 21 Detective Gardaí. 15 of these Garda members were allocated to Cyber Satellite Hubs based in Cork, Galway, Mullingar & Wexford, whilst the remaining 9 were allocated to the National Cybercrime Unit based in Harcourt Square.

I am advised by Garda authorities that total staffing levels in GNCCB stand at 45 Garda members and 6 Garda staff. I am advised that it is anticipated that a further allocation of staff to GNCCB will occur in the near future.

I am also advised that GNCCB’s own IT capability is also increasing, with a new decryption suite procured earlier this year. This work is also resourced through a smaller expert team in the National Crime and Security Intelligence Service.

As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána maintains strong international links and is liaising and co-operating with international law enforcement and security partners – Interpol, Europol, the FBI and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

A breakdown of the number of Garda members assigned to the unit is provided in the table below.

The current staffing levels at the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau.

2021 D/Chief Supt D/Supt D/Insp D/Sgt D/Garda Total
Harcourt Square 1 1 2 6 19 29
Cork Hub 1 5 6
Wexford Hub 3 3
Mullingar Hub 3 3
Galway Hub 4 4
Total 1 1 2 7 34 45

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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178. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in the Midleton and Fermoy districts at the end of April 2021; the way this compares to the end of April 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29976/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The resources provided by government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.88 billion in 2020 and of €1.952 billion in 2021. This has enabled sustained, ongoing recruitment.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the general management and administration of the Garda organisation under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. This includes the deployment of members of An Garda Síochána throughout the State. As Minister, I have no role in these independent functions.

As of 30 April 2021 there were 123 Gardaí assigned to the Midleton District, which represents an increase of 7.9% since 2015. As of the same date, there were 103 Gardaí assigned to the Fermoy District, which represents an increase of 21.2% since 2015.

There has been an increase in the number of Gardaí assigned to the Fermoy District from 98 Gardaí in April 2020 to 103 in April 2021, which is an overall increase of 5.1%.

As the Deputy will appreciate, Garda numbers can be affected by a number of factors, including retirements, medical discharges and resignations. The impact of policing measures and other steps to support the public health restrictions has also, exceptionally, had an impact over the past year. There has been a decrease in the number of Gardaí assigned to the Midleton District from 134 Gardaí in April 2020 to 123 in April 2021.

The Deputy may wish to note, however, that recruitment, which had been paused, has now recommenced in 2021 with 150 Garda trainees entering the Garda College on 24 May, the first of four intakes and a revised planned total of 450 for the year. This continuing recruitment forms an important component in the unprecedented and sustained level of investment being made in Garda resources in recent years, and is equipping the organisation to meet community needs throughout the country.

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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179. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality when the GSOC 2020 Annual Report will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30212/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I can inform the Deputy that I have received the GSOC annual report for 2020 and that I intend to bring the report to Government in the coming weeks and to lay it before the Houses immediately thereafter.

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