Dáil Éireann - Volume 627 - 14 November, 2006
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Fraud.
Ms O’Sullivan Ms O’Sullivan
Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of Operation Gull aimed at curbing cross-Border social welfare fraud; if the operation has now been concluded, or if it is ongoing. [37608/06]
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan: Operation Gull is a joint control exercise undertaken periodically at Airports and Ports in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain and the operations involve personnel from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), and the United Kingdom Immigration Service. My Department, through its assignment of Social Welfare Inspectors to the GNIB, participates in these exercises.
A Social Welfare Inspector was assigned to the GNIB in July 2004 to assist my Department and the Bureau in the investigation of social welfare fraud and breaches of the Immigration Acts, to provide information and intelligence and to promote the benefits of a multi-agency approach to immigration and employment law enforcement. A second inspector was assigned to the Bureau in August, 2006.
My Department’s records show that the work of the Social Welfare Inspectors assigned to the GNIB resulted in the termination of 234 social welfare claims in 2004 which achieved savings of €1.46 million, the termination of 591 social welfare claims in 2005 which achieved savings of €2.47 million and the termination of 543 social welfare claims in 2006 (to end October) which achieved savings of €2.88 million. However, separate figures are not available for Operation Gull.
I am satisfied that assigning Social Welfare Inspectors to the GNIB has proved beneficial for both organisations and that Operation Gull is an example of the benefits of inter agency and international co-operation. My Department will continue to support such operations in every possible way.
Dáil Éireann 627 Written Answers. Social Welfare Fraud.