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Order of Business

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Order of Business

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Senator Jerry Buttimer

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I thank the 12 Members of the House for their contributions on the Order of Business. I agree with Senator Ardagh that people who perpetrate attacks on innocent citizens are thugs; short and simple.
Senators Ardagh and Wilson raised the issue of crime. It is important to recognise that, under this Government, the Garda Training College in Templemore was reopened. More gardaí are being put in place. Issues of recruitment, modelling and community policing have been addressed in the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, chaired by Kathleen O'Toole. As a member of the Cork city policing forum, I attended a meeting last Monday which heard from the chief superintendent that there are now plans to recruit more community gardaí.
In addition, the Government's response to crime, particularly burglaries, has focused on two key objectives. The first of those is investing in the capacity of An Garda Síochána to tackle criminals and enforce the law efficiently and effectively and updating and strengthening the law where necessary. In tandem with that is Operation Thor, which was introduced to tackle the threat of mobile burglary groups and there has been significant investment in An Garda Síochána in ICT, overtime and the purchasing of high-powered vehicles. I note the remarks of the Garda Commissioner regarding overtime, but the Government has committed extra resources to the Garda. It is important to recognise that the numbers of burglaries are down 24% from 2015.
In saying that, I also draw Members' attention to the fact that last week at the ploughing championships the Minister for justice announced details of a text rebate scheme where €150,000 is available for communities in Cavan-Monaghan, Dublin, or Cork, to run a local text alert scheme.
The points made by Senators Wilson and Ardagh are ones about which we must be vigilant. We must be working to reduce crime levels. We are told at policing forum meetings that criminals are mobile in some cases, coming down the motorway to Cork or up the motorway to Cavan and we need to establish a system whereby people can assist An Garda Síochána by giving it information. The points the Senators make are very relevant.
Senator Ardagh is also right about the issue of switching mortgages and the importance of being aware of what is available to mortgage holders. I agree with her.
I join Senators Ardagh, Devine and Bacik in welcoming the Cabinet's decision to publish the Bill to give effect to the referendum result that people voted in their droves to support. I also join Senators Gavan and Devine in welcoming safe zones.