830. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the number of silencers for firearms that are licensed in Ireland. [22115/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy James Browne): Under Section 1 of the Firearms Act 1925, as amended, silencers (also known as moderators) are defined as a component part of a firearm and therefore as a firearm for the purposes of the Act.
Furthermore, Statutory Instrument No 21 of 2008 (Firearms (Restricted Firearms and Ammunition) Order 2008) as amended, defines silencers as “any devices fitted or capable of being fitted to the firearms for the purpose of moderating or reducing the sound made on their discharge”.
An Garda Síochána are responsible under provisions of the Firearms Act 1925 to 2009, for the administration and consideration of applications for the vast majority of firearm authorisations in the State.
It is my understanding that when an applicant is applying for a Firearms Certificate, they may also make application for a silencer to be fitted to the firearm. The granting Superintendent may authorise the use of the silencer with the firearm to be licensed. Where authorisation is given to have a silencer fitted to a licensed firearms, a letter 'S' is printed on the Firearms Certificate indicating that the authorisation is granted.
I am further advised that when considering an application for a silencer, a Superintendent of An Garda Síochána must be satisfied that granting such an application will not endanger public safety or the peace and that the applicant has a special need that is, in the opinion of the Superintendent, sufficient to justify the granting of the authorisation for the silencer.
The legislation allows the Superintendent to attach conditions to the authorisation. Each application for a silencer is considered on its own individual merits by the Superintendent in accordance with law.
I have been informed by An Garda Síochána that the total number of Silencers authorised on a Firearms Certificate as of 23 April 2021 is 15,723.