CAB may be beefed up to take on gangs
Resources for the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) may be increased to help tackle crime along the Border, Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has said.
She also insisted that morale within the force is improving after years of cutbacks and limited resources.
Ms O'Sullivan said CAB plays a huge role in "following the money" and the proceeds of crime.
Since the inception of the bureau in 1996, 50 people associated with the Provisional IRA have been subjected to tax assessments by Revenue, which recovered €28m for the exchequer.
"We have profilers right throughout the garda divisions," said the commissioner. "It's a multi-agency approach. We are currently specifically looking at the proceeds of crime around the Border area. We are working very closely with our colleagues in Revenue and in Social Protection to see how we can enhance our operations."
She said she also wished to pay tribute to the work of grassroots members of the force.
Ms O'Sullivan said they have emerged from a place where they were criticised "every single day for a lot of the work that they do". "But they continued with focus," she added.
She said the force remained determined to embrace any new initiatives which would help the victims of crime.
"I think that is a testament to all of our people. The confidence in An Garda Síochána has changed in a short space of time," said the commissioner.
However, despite the progress that has been made, she stressed that there was no room for complacency.
"I think it is a testament to the men and women of An Garda Síochána that despite everything, and all of the constraints, reductions in manpower and resources, they remained steadfast in their commitment. The results speak for themselves.
"The commitment has never waned in terms of the people who have served and those coming on to serve."
The lifting of the recruitment embargo has also boosted morale, she said, both for the community and "for our own members".
The Government has committed to more mobile armed garda units, tougher bail rules and electronic tagging as part of Operation Thor, a €5m plan to blitz prolific burglary gangs.
The bulk of the money will fund the placement of more officers in high-visibility patrols in crime hot spots, and put increased checkpoints on the roads to intercept mobile gangs.
Ms O'Sullivan said the crackdown will provide more than 100,000 additional patrolling hours, and added that its primary focus will be crime prevention.
"That means our people can be out there in the community, right up and down the length and breath of the country," she said. "In the past 10 days alone there have been over 30 arrests. I am very confident it will be an effective operation. The fleet and the technology is a huge help as well."
Speaking at an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, the commissioner also said the roll-out of more gardaí patrolling the streets on bicycles has been "tremendously successful".
"People living in densely populated areas like to see them. As part of the investment, we have purchased 100 new bikes, and it is our intention that they will be deployed in various areas.
"Our members like it as a way of engaging with the community."