McDowell very satisfied with outcome of Estimates Process

Allocation for Justice and Equality sector (current and capital) rises by 9%

KEY POINTS

What does this mean for policing, anti-crime measures, justice and equality services in 2007?

 

Garda Vote

Policing Services

"I have constantly repeated the message: this Government continues to provide record resources for anti-crime strategies and the publication of today's estimates which show an increase of 10% on this year's budget serve to underline my commitment in this respect. The additional overtime allocation will yield almost 3 million extra man hours of policing by uniformed and special units throughout the State. This significant increase in funding, and the continuing increase in the strength of the Force, will enhance the capacity the Garda Síochana to combat crime, focusing on the policing priorities for 2007 which I have determined under section 20 of the Garda Síochana Act 2005 and which I am also publishing today." declared Mr McDowell.

Infrastructure

"I expect this fund to address very many of the problems which can give rise to unsuitable working conditions at local level as well as enhancing the overall quality of the built stock of Garda Stations" said the Tánaiste.

Communications and Community protection equipment services

This subhead has increased by nearly 35% and reflects the Government's utmost determination to ensure that our communities are protected from all forms of threat.

"Among other things, these provisions will enhance the capacity of An Garda Síochana to pre-empt the activities of those who may be involved in terrorism - both national and international - and organised crime" said McDowell at the launch of his Department's estimates.

Justice, Equality and Law Reform Vote

Irish Youth Justice Service + 16m Euro

This is a new service which was established by the Government earlier this year and which for the first time since the foundation of the State brings together responsibility for young offenders together "under one roof". The service's primary role is to develop effective responses to juvenile crime.

A total of 16.2m Euro (of which 12.6m Euro is for capital purposes) is being allocated for this year. This will be supplemented by a further tranche of funding early in the New Year which is being transferred from the Department of Education. This funding will enable a programme of rejuvenation of badly needed youth detention and training facilities to be kick-started in 2007.

In addition, a total of 16.8m Euro from other areas of the Justice Vote and the Garda Vote is being allocated to Youth Justice Programmes, Mentoring Programmes and other initiatives comprehended by the Children Act. This includes an amount of 9.8m Euro for the expansion of Garda Youth Diversion projects by a further 16 - bringing the total in operation nationwide to 100 by the end of 2007.

Mr McDowell said that he was particularly pleased to have secured this high level of funding for the Irish Youth Justice Service in its first full-year of operation.

"Public money spent on diversion projects for at risk youths is money well spent" said the Tánaiste. "The underlying ethos of the Youth Justice Service is that detention is the measure of last resort and I am glad to be able to initiate a well funded budget line to give real expression to that central tenet of public policy in the youth justice area."

Forensic Science and State Pathology

Forensic Science and State Pathology Services next year will see the roll out of major investment programmes in these two key state services which are vital to the prosecution and detection of serious crime.

In the case of the State Pathology Service, an additional 3m Euro is being provided for the provision of new state of the art facilities in a joint major project with Dublin City Council. Planning for a new world class Forensic Science Laboratory within Garda HQ is also well advanced. The OPW will go to tender for this facility early next year and it is designed to take advantage of emerging forensic developments in crime detection, including the capacity to accommodate the proposed DNA database.

Graffiti removal initiative

In a continuation of this year's programme, a further 3m Euro is being provided in 2007 to tackle this scourge which is a particular concern to urban communities and major cities.

Immigration and Related Services

The spend next year on immigration and related services by INIS and its associated bodies will be 136.5m Euro. Included in that provision is a sum of 12.5m Euro for three major IT projects designed to upgrade and enhance our visa, immigration, asylum and identification systems. These IT projects will significantly enhance the capacity of our immigration service to tackle clandestine entry to the State.

Integration Measures - 3.2m Euro

An amount of 3.2m Euro has been allocated for the further development of Immigrant Integration measures - this is in addition to the 5m Euro budget line put in place this year for this important social policy imperative.

National Action Plan against Racism

A further 1m Euro is being provided in 2007 to tackle racism. This will bring the total spend in this area in recent years close to 10m Euro.

Prisons Vote

A total of 38.8m Euro (an increase of 13%) is provided under the Prisons Building subhead. This allocation includes an amount to cover initial site works to make ready the Thornton site for the major Prison complex to be sited there. Mr McDowell said "It is now full steam ahead for this landmark project. It will be a PPP project and I expect to be in a position to announce the successful tender shortly after Easter 2007."

The funding in the Prisons Vote will also enable a number of key building projects which will add significantly to the Prisons estate to be completed next year. These include:

Courts Vote

A maintenance fund for relatively minor courthouse repairs - comprising 11.7m Euro or an increase of 4.1m Euro is being allocated for 2007. This fund includes 4m Euro for minor works and is designed to ensure that our courthouse stock is maintained in good condition in keeping with its role as the public expression of the administration of Justice in the State.

A further additional sum of 10m Euro is being provided in the capital works subhead; this will mean that almost 30m Euro will be available next year for the major courthouse refurbishment programme. Courthouse refurbishment due for completion next year include: Nenagh, Tullamore, Fermoy, Thurles and Blanchardstown.

New Criminal Court Complex

The Tánaiste said that the winning contract for the new PPP Criminal Court complex at Islandbridge in Dublin will be announced within weeks and construction work is expected to start next year.

"This is a landmark occasion, the major criminal courts will all be brought together in a single site in the most significant development of our courts system since the Four Courts were brought into service shortly after we gained our independence." he said.


16 November 2006

 

APPENDIX

Priorities for the Garda Síochana for 2007

Determined by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
under section 20 of the Garda Síochana Act 2005

Organised Crime/Drugs

To target organised crime, including drug trafficking and the gun culture associated with it, particularly through

Terrorism

To continue to combat terrorist activities, with specific regard to dissident republican groups and the seizure of assets related to paramilitary activity, as well as monitoring, and taking appropriate action against, those who support international terrorism.

Public safety/ confidence

To increase public confidence in law enforcement through significantly increased high visibility policing in the community.

To monitor and improve response times to emergency calls while ensuring that persons reporting any crime are dealt with sympathetically and efficiently.

Organisational and deployment issues

To ensure that the ongoing expansion of An Garda Síochana to 14,000 members is fully reflected in the increase in the number of Gardaí on operational duties and in visible policing roles, with new full-time members being placed on operational duties.

To use the civilianisation process and the outsourcing of appropriate services to increase the number of Gardaí on operational duties.

To continue with the recruitment and deployment of Reserve members of An Garda Síochana with the objective of having 900 Reserve members in place throughout the State who will provide support to full-time members and improve visible policing

To work with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Garda Inspectorate and the Ombudsman Commission to improve standards within the Force and to raise the quality and level of effectiveness of policing services provided to the community.

To finalise the review of local policing arrangements in communities in the RAPID Programme Areas where local residents are seeking to have issues such as persistent vandalism, low and high level intimidation and other anti-social behaviour more effectively addressed.

Road Traffic Law Enforcement

To increase the strength of the Traffic Corps to its full planned strength of 1,200 which will enable increased enforcement activity such as checkpoints.

To target drink driving, speeding and other road traffic offences, informed by appropriate data, making full use of legal powers available, thereby contributing to a reduction in deaths and serious injuries.

To outsource the provision and operation of speed cameras.

To work closely with other organisations which have a role in improved road safety.

To contribute, in conjunction with other authorities, to the easing of traffic congestion.

Crime Prevention and Reduction

To address anti-social behaviour and behaviour adversely affecting the quality of life of communities, with particular emphasis on alcohol related behaviour (including under age drinking) and socially disadvantaged communities, especially through utilising the legal mechanisms being made available, including ASBO's, fixed charge notices and closure orders.

To participate fully in joint policing committees.

To monitor registered sex offenders and cooperate with the PSNI and UK police forces so as to minimise the risk of re-offending and contribute to community safety.

To focus on high value white collar crime, particularly trading in contraband goods.

To continue the expansion of Garda Youth Diversion Schemes.

To take effective steps to protect vulnerable people living in isolated areas.

Illegal immigration and trafficking in people

To deploy the necessary resources to tackle effectively illegal immigration and trafficking.