Friday 20 July 2018

Science lab and border IT plans trumpeted before

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Mark Condren
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Mark Condren
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Government has pledged to build a new forensic science laboratory and new courthouses and to refurbish and redevelop prisons as part of the National Development Plan.

However, the majority of the initiatives contained in the document are a repackaging of previous commitments, many long overdue.

For example, heading the list for investment in An Garda Síochána is a commitment to adopt a state-of-the-art border-control IT system, used by most other EU nations to fight international terrorism.

Ireland previously planned to adopt the Schengen Information System a decade ago, but the plans were shelved due to the economic crisis.

The European Commission last year began infringement proceedings against Ireland for failing to adopt the system.

Likewise, plans to develop a new forensic science laboratory and to redevelop Limerick Prison and improve facilities at other jails have been announced before.

Much of the plan focusses on investment in An Garda Síochána, where spending has increased since Charlie Flanagan became Justice Minister. The plan commits to the refurbishment of 30 Garda stations and the completion of divisional headquarters in Galway and at Kevin Street in Dublin.

There is also a firm commitment for a dedicated new family law court complex at Hammond Lane in Dublin, while Green Street Courthouse, previously used for the Special Criminal Court, looks set to be refurbished for use as the headquarters for the proposed Judicial Council.

Irish Independent

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