24. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to assist children who are being intimidated out of their homes by criminal elements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2164/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy may be aware, An Garda Síochána have established a Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme and this programme is in operation in the area referred to. The programme is designed to respond to the needs of drug users and family members who are experiencing drug related intimidation as a result of financial debt which they may have incurred. In this regard, a Garda Inspector has been appointed to oversee the programme in the area and can provide confidential contact details for any member of the public seeking advice and support. Gardaí also maintain strong links to facilitate communication at community level, in particular through liaison with the National Family Support Network, which supports families affected by substance abuse.
I am informed that local Gardaí have been in direct contact with the Deputy in relation to his concerns in recent weeks and provided him with information concerning the above programme. I understand, however, that local Garda management is not aware of any specific recent incidents in the area of the type referred to.