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Question

1. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the actions he has taken to provide additional supports to An Garda Síochána to address a number of recent thefts of automated teller machines, ATMs; if tracking devices are being considered for installation in ATMs to address the issue; if additional Garda resources have been deployed to areas likely to be targeted; if he is satisfied that the mechanisms to facilitate cross-Border co-operation are in place in the context of tackling this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21172/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I thank Deputy O'Callaghan for his question. In short, the Government has been liaising with An Garda Síochána, the banks and the construction industry in order to ensure that we have a concerted effort in response to this unacceptable pattern of events.
As the Deputy will be aware, investigations into several ATM robberies are ongoing both here and in Northern Ireland with a view to identifying those responsible. I want to acknowledge very close co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, PSNI, on this matter.  I have been fully briefed on these investigations by the Garda Commissioner and his team on several occasions. These crimes clearly have a very negative impact on both businesses and communities.
I can also advise the Deputy that my officials, including the Secretary General of my Department, recently met representatives of the banks, as well as the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland and An Garda Síochána.  It was clear from the meeting that a productive working relationship exists between the Irish banking sector and An Garda Síochána and they will continue to work closely to develop more effective preventative measures against thefts of ATMs. For operational reasons I do not intend to go into all the measures in place in each ATM. However, I am assured that individual risk assessments are carried out in respect of the security arrangements for each ATM, with engagement between the banks and An Garda Síochána where appropriate and necessary.
It is also important to ensure that large plant machinery of the type used in these robberies is securely stored. I am sure the Deputy will join with me in encouraging all farmers, contractors and plant hire companies to remain vigilant. If they have any concerns they should contact An Garda Síochána immediately.
In terms of co-operation, having regard to the fact a pattern has emerged between Northern Ireland and Border counties in the Republic, I assure the House of cross-jurisdiction co-operation here. Deputies will be aware of the joint cross-Border policing strategy operated between the two services, which covers a range of policing activities and contains a series of initiatives in which both police services remain actively engaged.