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Question

343. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied that sufficient resources are available to augment the appropriate intelligence unit of An Garda Síochána, having particular regard to the potential threat of terrorist activity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42910/15]

344. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied that An Garda Síochána can provide a sufficiently rapid response to a terrorist threat or to a hostage situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42911/15]

345. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which any augmentation of intelligence and surveillance facilities available to an Garda Síochána is required; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42912/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 343 to 345, inclusive, together.
In taking steps to deal with any threat to this State, An Garda Síochána deploys a strong intelligence base with a well-trained, armed special intervention and support capacity, and a range of other local and national policing and investigative resources.
Developing good intelligence domestically and enhancing intelligence-sharing internationally are essential in countering terrorism and An Garda Síochána has specialist units dedicated to this. The Garda authorities work closely with their EU and other international counterparts, including Europol and Interpol, in the exchange of intelligence. In this regard, as part of the major programme of investment in An Garda Síochána that I am bringing forward there will be considerable investment in Garda information and communications technology, including connecting to the European Schengen Information System. In the order of €330 million will be allocated over the lifetime of the Government's Capital Programme to support crime investigation and to enhance intelligence-led policing.
The primary special intervention capability is the Garda's armed Emergency Response Unit, which is specifically trained in counter-terrorism responses and hostage-type incidents. The armed Garda Regional Support Units can provide further support in such incidents, as well as the providing regionalised armed support to other policing operations. The Garda national units, including the Special Detective Unit, Organised Crime Unit and National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, play a key role in countering terrorism and serious crime and this is supported by the day-to-day policing work of every Garda member. As the Deputy will know, Ireland benefits greatly from having An Garda Síochána as both its national police and intelligence service.
The Garda authorities have the appropriate resources available to them to tackle threats from these sources but given the evolving nature of the terrorist threat and the need to adapt to respond to them, the Garda Commissioner is carrying out a review at present and will let me know of any additional requirements that may arise.