115. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice the new measures her Department is taking in relation to cyber-security; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51664/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the prevention and investigation of criminal activity, including cybercrime and related offences, are operational matters for An Garda Síochána. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána has significantly stepped up its dedicated resources in the cyber area in recent years and is continuing to grow its capabilities. The dedicated Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) is led by a Detective Chief Superintendent. As of 30 September, the latest date for which figures are available, there are 45 Garda members attached to GNCCB, and there are plans to continue to expand the Bureau between this year and next, including the recruitment of 20 civilian expert posts at engineer grade. Cyber Satellite Hubs have also recently been established in Cork, Galway, Mullingar and Wexford. These hubs are engaged in cybercrime forensics, investigations and support roles.
GNCCB is responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime incidents in the State. Both the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the GNCCB continue to engage with telecommunications service providers regarding online scams and the identification of the persons involved in them.
It is important to note that combatting and preventing fraud and related cybercrime falls under the remit of several Departments and Agencies. There is close cooperation across the whole of Government on this issue, and in particular between An Garda Síochána and the National Cyber Security Centre.
The Deputy may also be aware that earlier this month I launched a major cybercrime awareness campaign, as part of European Cybersecurity Month. This campaign will see Community Gardaí and Crime Prevention Officers around the country providing information to local communities on how to avoid falling victim to such scams. This will be done through local information events, as well as through the normal engagement Gardaí have with their communities. There are also dedicated radio advertisements being broadcast nationally as part of the campaign.
Cooperation with our EU and international partners remains a key part of Ireland's response to cybercrime and online scams. Ireland is also committed to ratifying the Council of Europe Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, the first binding international treaty on cybercrime, when the necessary legislative requirements have been fulfilled. My Department's Justice Plan 2021 commits to drafting a general scheme of a Cybercrime Bill which will give effect to those provisions of the Budapest Convention not already provided for in Irish law.