54. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which the Garda Síochána is adequately equipped to deal with all forms of security threat, including the activities of criminal gangs, and of international terrorists; if she is satisfied with the availability of intelligence and the necessary technology to ensure the ability of the Garda Síochána to deal adequately with any current or emerging threats to the security of the State and to the people; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42348/15]
Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Recent events have brought into focus the potential threats that democratic societies face from international threats. It must be recalled that the primary security threat facing the State is from so-called dissident republican paramilitary groups. These groups are inextricably linked to organised crime in order to fund their activities. At present, over 40 people are before the Special Criminal Court charged in connection with subversive activity. In view of the nature of this activity, I am having the necessary arrangements put in place to set up a second Special Criminal Court to reduce delays in listing trials.
The Garda authorities have the appropriate resources available to them to tackle threats from these sources but given the evolving nature of the security and organised crime threat, the Garda Commissioner is carrying out a review and will let me know of any additional requirements that may arise. I have secured an extra €4 million so that we can be part of the Schengen information system, which is a very important database with real life active information on it about current threats.
The Garda Síochána, which is the security force in this State, will take all possible steps to deal with any threat to this country, combining 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 dedicated to countering both security threats and the activities of organised crime gangs, whatever their origins.
A primary response capacity is the Garda's emergency response unit, which is specially trained in counter-terrorism responses and hostage-type incidents. The armed regional support units, the special detective unit, the drugs unit and organised crime unit also have key roles to play in this regard.
The Criminal Assets Bureau has a particularly important role to play in tackling organised crime and has been successful in targeting the assets of those involved. Since its establishment, it has secured a total of €28 million from persons who have been associated with the Provisional IRA in the past.