Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 01 July, 1999
Written Answers. - Garda Operations.
Mr. McGuinness Mr. McGuinness
206. Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress, if any, being made by the special unit, operation trace; the number of gardaí involved in the unit; the special technical advice or otherwise available to the unit; the plans, if any, he has to buy in advice from other countries who have experience in this area of operation; the new technology, if any, used by the unit to trace missing people; if new technology can be used to trace bodies; if the families of the disappeared were contacted in recent times or if the unit is in constant contact; if new leads have been discovered or investigated; and his views on whether the unit is a success. [17042/99]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): As I have previously informed the House, operation Trace consists of a full-time team of six experienced detectives, under the direction of an assistant commissioner. The number of personnel assigned to the task is frequently augmented as required. I am informed by the Garda authorities that all new information coming to light from whatever source is actively  and rigorously pursued. I understand that several lines of inquiry are currently being pursued by operation Trace, and that progress is being made.
I am assured that the technical expertise within the Garda Síochána is of a very high standard, and that the force has liaised with other agencies in relation to the latest technology in the field. All available technology and advice that could be of assistance to the operation in tracing the missing persons is fully availed of. In the event of a location being identified where a body is likely to be found, equipment known as ground penetration radar can be obtained, and has been used in previous operations in this country.
I can assure the House that all necessary resources are being made available to the gardaí to enable them to carry out these investigations.
Contact is maintained on a regular basis with the families of the missing persons. As the House will appreciate, in investigations such as this progress is slow and time consuming. It is, however, considered that operation Trace has been worthwhile.
Dáil Éireann 507 Written Answers. Garda Operations.