From: Senator Kieran O’Donnell 20/06/2019
O’Donnell Raises Garda re-deployment to Frontline Policing from Courthouse
– Have raised this matter with Justice Minister & Garda Commissioner
Limerick Senator Kieran O’Donnell has highlighted the need for private security firms to take over security services from an Garda Siochana at Limerick’s new Mulgrave Street Courthouse. This would have the positive impact of releasing up to 22 members of an Garda Siochana to frontline duties, not just in the city centre, but, also in the environs, in such areas as Castletroy and Dooradoyle/Raheen.
Senator O’Donnell said: “I have raised this important policing matter recently in the Seanad with the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan TD as well as with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Assistant Garda Commissioner for the southern region Anne Marie McMahon requesting the re-deployment of Gardai from non-core Court Security duties at the new Courthouse in Mulgrave Street, Limerick to frontline Community Policing duties in Limerick City & Environs. I have followed this up with further discussions with the Minister for Justice on this important matter.
“This is in line with a key recommendation from the Commission on the future of policing in Ireland which was published last September. Furthermore, under the implementation plan, this type of re-deployment is to be progressed this year.
“A value for money study of prison escorts was conducted last year led by the Department of Justice, and work is on-going on this matter, involving an Garda Siochana, the Courts service and the Irish Prison service. I have made a request to the Minister for Justice that this value for money study be now extended to also cover the provision of security services within the courts by an Garda Siochana.
“The Chief Superintendent for Limerick Gerry Roche publicly supported this Garda re-deployment proposal at a recent meeting of the Limerick joint policing committee held on 10th May at which I raised the matter.
“I very much support today’s public call by Limerick Chamber of Commerce for the redeployment of Gardai from court security duties to community and city centre policing and I am seeking to progress this very practical proposal as quickly as possible.
“Since the opening of the new courthouse on Mulgrave Street in March 2018,a significant Garda presence has been required to provide security here. It is my understanding that there are up to 22 Garda (2 Sergeants & 20 Garda) providing security services here.
“In Dublin, we find both in the Four Courts and the Criminal Court of Justice, the security services are in the main provided by a private security firm. Indeed, this private security arrangement was put in place from the very first day the new Dublin Criminal court of Justice opened in 2010. I would have to question why this did not happen when the new courthouse in Mulgrave Street was opened, instead of having up to 22 Garda re-deployed away from core duties in providing security for this new courthouse.
“This new state-of-the-art courthouse in Mulgrave Street is most welcome and a great addition to Limerick, however, we must ask whether Garda resources are better used doing security work here rather than frontline community policing.
“Whilst, some Garda presence would still be required in the courthouse, nevertheless, the majority of the present 22 Garda would be freed up for much needed community policing here in Limerick.
“The communities and businesses of Limerick want to see extra Garda on the beat. It makes no sense to me having this number of highly trained Garda engaged in non-core court security activities when they could be out patrolling the streets and making Limerick safer”, concluded Senator O’Donnell.