Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
338. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which the level of criminal gang activity has subsided or escalated over the past three years to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30424/21]
I can assure the Deputy that tackling criminal gang activity is a key priority for the Government and an ongoing priority for An Garda Síochána which is reflected in the National Policing Plan.
The Government has supported An Garda Síochána in addressing the threat from organised crime gangs through the introduction of legislative measures such as:
The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2016 which provides additional Garda powers for the immediate seizure of assets suspected of being the proceeds of crime to prevent them being disposed of.
The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014 providing for the establishment and operation of the DNA database providing Gardaí with links between people and unsolved crimes.
The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, introduced to protect the justice system from being subverted by criminal groups, including potential intimidation of juries.
An Garda Síochána continue to develop and implement strategies to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks, utilising advanced analytical and intelligence methods. Gardaí target serious criminals and organised criminal groups through the use of focused intelligence led operations by specialist units such as the Organised Crime Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau, and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. An Garda Síochána regularly liaises and cooperates with their international policing and security partners, such as EUROPOL and INTERPOL, in their mutual objective of combatting transnational organised crime.
As the Deputy will no doubt be aware, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of all crime statistics. The CSO produces these statistics using data recorded on An Garda Síochána’s PULSE system and makes regular releases under reservation in relation to various crime statistics, including recorded and detected crime, and listing them by Garda Division. The CSO also continues to work with An Garda Síochána to address quality issues in the underlying sources used to compile the statistics.
The particular breakdown sought by the Deputy is not available, as there is no classification on the CSO database for Criminal Gang Activity. I can however inform the Deputy that the most recent available crime statistics, as published by the Central Statistics Office and including statistics for 2018, 2019 and 2020, are available at: data.cso.ie/product/RC.