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Launch of Forensic Science Ireland’s Annual Report 2021

Human Remains
  • Almost 24,000 cases processed by FSI in 2021.
  • Assisted in the identification of 13 unidentified human remains.
  • Worked with An Garda Síochána on 15 serious crime reviews, dating as far back as 1985.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, welcomes the launch of the 2021 Annual Report of Forensic Science Ireland (FSI).

A key feature of the 2021 Annual Report is the substantial increase in the demand for the services of FSI over the past 3 years. FSI has grown its services over the same period, with an increase in DNA & Biological Analysis services provided (increased by 54%), growth in the number of drugs reports issued (increased by 35%) and the integration of Fingerprint and Documents & Handwriting investigations into FSI.

Minister McEntee stated: “FSI’s forensic science services provides invaluable support to An Garda Síochána in the investigation of crime. Their work is often instrumental in assessing and confirming evidence to ensure that those who are guilty of crimes are brought to justice.
I would like to thank Director General Chris Enright and the team of Forensic Science Ireland for their tremendous work throughout a challenging 2021. FSI again remained open through all stages of the COVID restrictions, processing almost 24,000 cases – an increase of 85% compared to 2018″.

FSI’s support for European cooperation in criminal investigations and border control have also grown over the course of the 2021. FSI is now exchanging DNA data with 11 countries under the Prüm Decision, after connecting with Germany, France and Malta in 2021.

The Minister added: “The progress in construction of FSI’s purpose built forensic facility at the Backweston Science Campus is very encouraging. The building is planned for completion in the coming months and will create avenues to grow and expand forensic services for the State. I very much look forward to the opening of the new facility”.

The FSI Annual Report 2021 can be accessed HERE.

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Government approve proposal to expand Garda Liaison Officer Network.

Minister McEntee welcomes Government approval of proposal to expand Garda Liaison Officer Network.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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Motorists Daily Receiving Fines On M7 Motorway In Tipperary.

On average some 47 motorists, each day, are receiving speeding fines on the M7 motorway, in an area where new average speed safety cameras have been recently installed.

Figures provided by An Garda Síochána indicate that a daily average of 47 motorists have been caught driving at average speeds in excess of 120km/h over the distance between Junction 26 [Nenagh West, North Co. Tipperary] and Junction 27 [Birdhill, North Co. Tipperary].

These figures indicate that regrettably the speed by motorists has increased significantly on this 15km-stretch of the M7 motorway, since the safety cameras were first introduced in late April of this year.

It should be noted that, motorists found driving at speeds in excess of 120km/h, between Junction 26 and Junction 27 on the M7 in Co. Tipperary are liable, as at the moment, for a fine of €80, combined with three penalty points on their licence.

The Road Safety Authority has confirmed it has decided to now fast-track a review of penalties for serious road traffic offences, in response to the major increase in road fatalities so far in the current year.
To date, sadly a total of 83 people have lost their lives on roads, here in the Republic of Ireland; an increase of 30 persons over the corresponding period of last year.

This review of penalties, by the Road Safety Authority, which will include the offences of speeding, mobile phone use, drink and drug driving and the non-wearing of seat belts, was initially due to be completed by the end of 2024, however the review is now being re-prioritised, to possibly be completed within the current year, together with new media public awareness publicity campaign.

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Oireachtas Approves Acts To Combat Terrorism & Organised Crime.

Oireachtas approves renewal of acts to combat terrorism and organised crime

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, has moved Oireachtas resolutions for the renewal of important legislation aimed at combatting terrorism and serious organised crime.

Terrorism & Organised Crime.

The Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998, which was enacted in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing, makes amendments to the Offences against the State Acts 1939-1985, the State’s main body of counter-terrorist legislation, and created new substantive offences.

The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, 2009 was enacted to put in place certain additional legislative measures to tackle organised crime. Among those measures was section 8 which provides that certain organised crime offences are scheduled offences and accordingly shall be tried in the Special Criminal Court, unless the Director of Public Prosecutions otherwise directs.

Both Acts provide that certain provisions shall cease to be in operation unless a Resolution had been passed by each House of the Oireachtas resolving that those provisions should continue in operation for a further 12 months.

The Dáil and Seanad agreed to renew, for a further year, the relevant provisions of both Acts until June 29th 2023.

In addition, there is an ongoing independent expert review of the Offences Against the State Acts and a final report from the Group is expected this autumn.

During the Oireachtas debates the Minister outlined that the threat from dissident paramilitaries remains, that as an open democracy Ireland is not immune from the threat from international terrorism and as such the continuation of the provisions was necessary. The Minister also thanked the members of the Independent Review Group for their ongoing work on reviewing the Offences Against the State Acts, and looked forward to engaging with any recommendations in their final report, expected this autumn.

The Minister stated : “There remains a real and persistent threat from paramilitary groups … It is imperative that our laws and our authorities are properly equipped to deal with the threat.

These groups remain committed to violence and are contemptuous of the vast majority of the people on this island, latter who wish to live their lives in peace.

It is my firm view that the provisions I am seeking renewal of today are important in supporting An Garda Síochána in their efforts to investigate, disrupt and dismantle the activities of terrorists.

Further in relation to organised crime and acknowledging the work of the Gardaí, the Minister said:
“Organised criminal groups have no regard for the rule of law and supporting the great work of An Garda Síochána in tackling organised crime remains a priority for the Government.

The Government is fully committed to giving An Garda Síochána the necessary resources to continue the work of combatting those involved in organised crime. As Minister for Justice, I want to acknowledge that work. An Garda Síochána continue to make significant seizures of drugs and firearms; they continue to bring organised criminals to justice and importantly they continue to prevent further loss of life.

The clear view of the Garda Commissioner, Mr Drew Harris, is that the continued operation of these provisions is required, and I fully support his view”.

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Tribute Paid To Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll.

Minister for Justice Mrs Helen McEntee has paid tribute, on behalf of the Government and the State, to Assistant Garda Commissioner Mr John O’Driscoll as he retires today, following 41 years of service in An Garda Síochána.

Minister for Justice Mrs McEntee stated:

“Mr John O’Driscoll has served the State with integrity and distinction over the course of his 41 year career in policing. Throughout his career, and particularly in difficult days since 2016, John has embodied the finest tradition of An Garda Siochana. His experience, dedication and leadership ensured the success of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in effectively disrupting organised crime groups and bringing to justice many of the most serious criminals.

In recent months months, we have seen the work of An Garda Síochána with their international law enforcement partners come to fruition to effectively tackle criminal groups – Mr O’Driscoll work has been central to quietly harnessing this coalition of support.

As he retires today, I know Mr O’Driscoll’s heart will always remain in policing and his legacy will have a lasting impact – on all those who have had the privilege to work with him and with the public he has served with such steadfastness.

I wish John and all those close to him many years of healthy and happy retirement.”

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