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 Header Item Garda Station Closures (Continued)
 Header Item Adjournment Debate Matters
 Header Item Leaders' Questions

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 909 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald] Having regard to its success, that is the direction in which we need to continue with a targeted operation with mobile patrols and liaison locally working with communities. We saw a very significant reduction in burglaries in the last quarter of last year. It was approximately 24% and there was a reduction in the number of burglaries in the year overall. While any one incident of the type the Deputy described is one too many, in terms of effective policing, having the targeted approach we put in place with Operation Thor, which is continuing, is clearly the way to go.

Deputy Jackie Cahill: Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill I appreciate the Tánaiste's answers. Hopefully, the increased Garda numbers projected under the programme for Government will impact on the ground and remove the fear with which people are living in rural areas. I look forward to monitoring the situation.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The operation that was put in place is the way to deal with these issues. Operation Thor is continuing. Increasing Garda resources with respect to recruitment and investment in Garda vehicles is essential. That is the way to deal with these issues. The very large budget which was in place was further increased by €67 million and I would hope that this would continue.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.

Adjournment Debate Matters

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I wish to advice the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 23(3) and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Louise O'Reilly - the need for the Minister for Health to immediately publish the capacity review of the HSE national ambulance service; (2) Deputy David Cullinane - to ask the Minister for Health to outline why University Hospital Waterford spent over €20 million on agency staff from 2011-15, if he recognises that this is a consequence of underfunding of our acute hospital network and to outline what plans he has to increase staff capacity in our public hospitals; (3) Deputy Brian Stanley - to raise with the Minister for Education and Skills the urgent need for a new school to accommodate St. Francis special school on the site that has been provided by the parish at Borris Road, Portlaoise; (4) Deputy Gerry Adams - the need to meet obligations on housing rights for Travellers, given breaches highlighted by the European Committee of Social Rights; (5) Deputy Thomas P. Broughan - the urgent need for the Minister for Health to provide full local day services for young school leavers on the autistic spectrum in Dublin Bay North and Fingal; (6) Deputies Barry Cowen and Carol Nolan - the provision of therapy services for children with disabilities in County Laois and in County Offaly; (7) Deputies Clare Daly and Mick Wallace - the O'Higgins commission and the position of the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána; (8) Deputy Thomas Pringle - the need to discuss the implications for fishermen of SI No. 125 of 2016, the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2016; (9) Deputy Jonathan O'Brien - the need to introduce supervised injecting facilities for persons with drug problems; (10) Deputies Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry - the industrial dispute between Luas tram drivers and the operators of the Luas service, Transdev; and (11) Deputy Thomas Byrne - the need for the Minister for Education and Skills to explain the current position with the securing of a site for St. Peter's Church of Ireland primary school in Dunboyne, which has been waiting for a permanent home for many years and is one of very few schools to be established under Church of Ireland patronage since the foundation of the State.

The matters raised by Deputies Gerry Adams, Barry Cowen and Carol Nolan, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, and Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry have been selected for discussion.

Leaders' Questions

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We have had the publication of the O'Higgins report into deficiencies, malpractice and a series of investigations at Bailieboro Garda station, the areas surrounding the station and its hinterland. We had much selective leaking and managed interpretations of the report in advance, which were disingenuous and led people down the wrong tracks. It needs to be put on the record that the O'Higgins report essentially vindicates, in the first instance, the central recommendation of the Guerin report, which was to establish a commission of investigation into the series of allegations at various levels of An Garda Síochána made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe on a number of occasions. They were contained in a dossier which he handed to me and which I, in turn, handed to the Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny. On foot of that dossier he initiated the Guerin report, which is very clear about the veracity and credibility of Sergeant McCabe and the allegations he made. It recommended that a commission of investigation be established. It covers a whole series of investigations of incidents where serious crimes were committed, where victims were not dealt with properly and where they were not served properly by the institutions of the State, particularly An Garda Síochána, on those occasions. The most noteworthy was the case of Jerry McGrath who went on to murder Sylvia Roche-Kelly, following earlier criminal acts including the abduction of a child in Tipperary while he was out on bail and the assault on others.

As we know, this has been a long saga but throughout all of it there has been a campaign to undermine Sergeant McCabe. There seemed to be a fundamental reluctance to accept the veracity and credibility of what he was about, to such an extent that it became necessary to establish a commission of investigation.

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