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Question

95. Deputy Kieran O'Donnell asked the Minister for Justice if she will report on the progress being made on the implementation of A Policing Service for the Future plan with reference to County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36514/21]

Answer

Deputy Heather Humphreys: I thank the Deputy for raising the matter. As he is aware, in December 2018 the Government published A Policing Service for the Future, which is a detailed four-year plan to implement the landmark report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The plan was developed in co-operation with stakeholders from across the public service including, in particular, An Garda Síochána.
The policing reform implementation programme office is based in the Department of the Taoiseach and works closely with my Department to monitor progress by all stakeholders on the actions contained in A Policing Service for the Future. This supports the work of the implementation group on policing reform and keeps the high-level steering board on policing reform and the Government apprised of the progress being made. While progress on some actions has been impacted by the many demands on An Garda Síochána during the Covid-19 pandemic, a key milestone in the plan was reached in April with the publication by the Minister, Deputy McEntee, of the general scheme of the policing, security and community safety Bill. The Bill provides for wide-ranging and coherent reform of policing by improving the performance and accountability of our policing and security services, and supporting the human rights of all people throughout Ireland to be and feel safe in their communities. A key and novel aspect of the Bill is the establishment of local community safety partnerships, to support a whole-of-Government approach to keeping communities safe and which will build upon and replace the existing joint policing committees.
Turning specifically to Limerick, the Deputy will be aware that Limerick is one of the first five divisions chosen by Garda management for the implementation of the new Garda operating model. This new structure was identified by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland as a core action necessary to streamline and strengthen administration and to provide a more visible, responsive policing service tailored to the local needs of communities nationwide. The Deputy will also be interested to know that a crisis intervention team is to be piloted in the Limerick Garda division, again following a recommendation from the commission. This pilot project is being developed to support appropriate mental health interventions and is being designed by local management in close collaboration with colleagues in the HSE.