08 February 2017

Increased Garda investment is yielding results – Fitzgerald

Local TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, says that increased Garda resources and intensive policing operations are yielding results in Dublin Mid West.

Last week’s seizure of weapons in Rathcoole, along with cash and back accounts demonstrate the Gardaí are making real progress in the fight against organised crime.

Fitzgerald said: “We are now making real progress in the fight against organised crime. Over the last year the Government has made significant extra resources available to the Gardaí to allow them to intensify their efforts to combat crime. 

Fitzgerald accused local politicians of scaremongering for political gain: “I am absolutely committed to ensuring visible, effective and responsive policing throughout our communities in order to strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and prevent crime. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of another 800 Garda recruits. Since the reopening of the Garda College, 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, including 67 to the DMR West region. Five new Gardai were assigned from Templemore last Thursday. .

“Garda numbers in Dublin Mid West are increasing and will continue to increase. The most recent from the independent Central Statistics Office show that there were decreases in many crime categories, including a 26% reduction in burglaries. One crime is one too many, however, we are making very significant process in tackling crime rates both locally and nationally.

“The Lucan and Clondalkin Garda Districts form part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West Division and I am informed that on the 30 November 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, the Garda strength of the Lucan District was 164, Gardaí and the strength of the Clondalkin District was 197.

“The new Garda Special Crime Task Force has been in operation since July 2016 and is focussing relentlessly people involved in organised crime. I also approved funding for a dedicated Armed Support Unit to enhance armed support capability in Dublin and to free up resources for day-to-day policing.

“Operation Hybrid has been established to coordinate the response to violent crime in Dublin and address public concerns about community safety. 

“Even before the recent high profile Garda success against organised crime Operation Hybrid had produced 51 arrests and 5 charges in connection with the series of shootings carried out in 2016 (with 3 further charges brought for related offences) as well as the seizure of 26 firearms. 

“There have been in excess of 11,000 lines of enquiry conducted with more that 20,000 high visibility checkpoints implemented with significant support from Armed Support Units. A a significant amount of CCTV footage, mobile phone traffic, and forensic evidence is also being examined.

“Last week carefully planned Garda operations have led to the massive cannabis haul in Dublin Port valued at €37.5 million as well as the arrest in Baldonnel of four suspects, three of whom have since been charged along with the very significant seizure of 15 firearms, large cash amounts and bank information. Weapons seized included revolvers and semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and a sub-machine gun, together with 1300 rounds of assorted ammunition. This shows the high level of operations taking place to ensure the safety of our communities.

“Underpinning all of this is a plan to put many more Gardai on the street and increase the size of the force to 15,000 officers. This year I have made funding available to recruit an extra 800 Gardai.”