Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD has received Government approval for the expansion of the Garda Liaison Officer Network. Following a request from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to the Minister, this expansion will involve: 

 

- the creation of two new posts for Garda Liaison Officers, one in Abu Dhabi, with responsibility for the Middle East region, and the second in Bangkok, with responsibility for the South-East Asia/Australasia region;
 
- the assignment of an assistant liaison officer to Washington who will support the operation of the current Garda Liaison Officer (GLO) post in the North American Region; and
 
- the temporary assignment of two Garda members to assist the French National Police and Gendarmerie during July and August 2022.

 

Minister McEntee said, 
 

 

We have seen the importance of international law enforcement coalitions in recent months as, through collaboration and cooperation with their partners, An Garda Síochána have enjoyed success in pursuing Irish criminals abroad, such as the Kinahan Organised Crime Group. 
 
“Some criminals may think that they can evade justice by leaving Ireland but these law enforcement coalitions demonstrate that they cannot.
 
“And given the increasingly transnational nature of organised crime and terrorism, the Garda Liaison Officer Network plays an important role in realising An Garda Síochána’s commitment to tackle these twin issues.
 
“They engage with local and regional law enforcement agencies regarding the activities and movement of Irish nationals or people linked to Ireland who An Garda Síochána, and potentially their colleague police services, have an interest in.
 
“The new GLOs will be crucial in assisting An Garda Síochána in pursuing criminals who spread misery here in Ireland, as well as abroad.”
 

 

GLO positions are currently situated in Madrid, Paris, London, The Hague, Washington DC and Bogota. 
 
Garda members at the rank of Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent have been assigned to these positions, which are based in the Irish embassies as part of the Irish diplomatic mission in those countries. 
 
 
Minister McEntee continued, 

 

“This is the second expansion of the Network in the past two years following the creation of the Washington and Bogota posts in 2020. These expansions follow a review of the Network which recommended the creation of five new regional GLO posts. 
 
These new positions will be important for enhancing the security of the state and strengthening An Garda Síochána’s relationships with police services overseas.
 
“The deployment of Garda Liaison Officers to date has proven to be an effective and practical form of interagency cooperation between police services and has supported the exchange of information and the coordination of operations across borders.
 
“This expansion will see the Network break new ground by expanding into the Middle-East and South-East Asia/Australasia while also supplementing the existing operations in North America and Europe.”
 
 
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Additional information
 
Section 51(2)(a) of the 2005 Garda Síochána Act (as amended) provides that the Garda Commissioner may assign eligible members of the Garda Síochána for service outside the State to carry out liaison duties, subject to the agreement of the Government, with a law enforcement agency of a state other than the State.
 
Appointment of new GLOs in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok
 
The assignments of regional GLOs to Washington and Bogota was the first stage of the proposed expansion of the GLO network.  The overall aim was to expand the network with the creation of five new regional GLO posts.  The Garda Commissioner is now seeking to implement the second stage of the expansion with the creation of GLO positions in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok, with responsibility for the Middle-East, and South-East Asia/Australasia, regions respectively.
 
The Regional GLOs are generally to be at the rank of Superintendent, reflecting the wider responsibilities of the posts. However the Commissioner may, from time to time, deploy a member of a different rank for operational reasons.  The successful candidates will take up duty on dates to be determined by the Garda Commissioner in consultation with Department of Foreign Affairs.
 
Assignment of assistant liaison officer to Washington DC
 
The Assistant to the Garda Liaison Officer in Washington DC will provide administrative and operational support to the GLO to Washington.  They will assist in development of future strategies to facilitate communication links and expand intelligence and operations, as well as provide support to the GLO in the exchange of information, intelligence and participation in parallel investigation. They will also act as a support to the GLO in the development of operational efficiencies between and United States and Canadian law enforcement organisations.
 
Temporary assignment of two Garda members to assist the French National Police and Gendarmerie during July and August 2022
 
This temporary assignment is in response to a request received, by the Garda Commissioner, from the French Government to Ireland seeking the deployment of Garda members to provide operational assistance in certain tourist areas of France during the months of July and August 2022.  The primary purpose of the deployment is to assist French police in dealing with Irish nationals visiting the area. This is similar to arrangements in other areas of France involving the temporary deployment of German, Spanish and Dutch police officers. 
 
The request is for the deployment of two Garda members from 11 July 2022 to 31 July 2022, and a further deployment of two members from 1 August 2022 to 21 August 2022.  Garda members are to patrol in uniform with French police officers and assist in the investigation of complaints by, or offences involving, Irish nationals.  
 
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