Dáil Éireann - Volume 538 - 14 June, 2001

Written Answers. - Law on Trespass.

126. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the extent to which power is available to prevent the occupation of unroofed compounds or enclosures by traders or others; the recourse available and enforceable by the Garda to combat such activity; if the law in regard to breaking and entering is insufficient as appears to be the case; if it is possible for a person or persons unknown to enter such private property and remain there with impunity indefinitely unless the actual act of breaking and entering has been witnessed in the course of which wilful damage is done to the property; if the laws of criminal damage apply or can be applied in such circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17615/01]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 329 of 22 May 2001 concerning illegal camping on privately or publicly owned lands, which is a civil wrong to be addressed by means of civil remedy.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the precise circumstances of each individual case of trespass determine whether a breach of the criminal law has occurred. It is not possible to make a general statement in this regard. As outlined in my reply of 22 May last, the Garda Síochána is empowered to investigate criminal behaviour associated with trespass on privately or publicly owned lands.

I have also been assured by the Garda authorities that any breaches of criminal law associated with or arising during the course of a civil trespass will be investigated thoroughly by the Garda Síochána.