58. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which the fight against organised crime continues to succeed with particular reference to the urgent need to detain and charge all of the serious criminal gang bosses thus putting an end to intimidation of witnesses and retaliatory acts often resulting in killing and thereby addressing an ever increasing threat to the security of the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40418/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can assure the Deputy that targeting organised crime activity and those involved is an ongoing priority for the Government and An Garda Síochána.
An Garda Síochána is tackling such activity through a range of targeted measures designed to disrupt and dismantle the operations of criminal organisations.
This involves targeting serious criminals and organised criminal groups on a number of fronts and across all geographical locations, including through the use of focused intelligence led operations by Garda specialist units including the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Economic Crime Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations and supported, as required, by the Security and Intelligence Section. These specialist units also work closely with the Criminal Assets Bureau in targeting persons involved in such criminality.
All of these units operate under the umbrella of An Garda Síochána Special Crimes Operations Unit and are continuing to achieve commendable successes in targeting criminal groups as well as the ongoing drugs and firearms seized.
The Deputy will be aware of the very significant measures which have been introduced in response to the appalling gangland feuding activity which has manifested itself both here and abroad. These measures include the provision of significant additional resources to An Garda Síochána, strengthened legislative measures targeting the proceeds of crime, the establishment of a dedicated Garda Armed Support Unit in Dublin and the establishment of a new Garda Special Crime Task Force.
The Deputy will also be aware of the significant investment of some €46 million in the Garda Fleet under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. This investment will continue to provide the Gardaí with additional high-powered vehicles, marked and unmarked patrol cars, and motorcycles to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime. There are further investments in Garda airborne surveillance and enhanced technology and ICT systems with €330 million, including €205 million under the Capital Plan, being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in the fight against crime.
In addition, plans are in place to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians.
We are already seeing significant results being achieved on foot of these measures including those of An Garda Síochána Operation Hybrid. Activity as of 9 October 2016 includes 38 arrests, 5 charges (related to shootings), 23 firearms seized and over 9,000 lines of enquiry being followed. In excess of 14,300 high visibility checkpoints have been implemented with significant support from Armed Support Units and a significant amount of CCTV footage, mobile phone traffic, and forensic evidence is also being examined.
I can assure the Deputy that tackling organised crime is a priority for the Government and An Garda Síochána.