Dáil Éireann - Volume 628 - 29 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Joint Policing Committees.

Ms O. Mitchell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if progress has been made on the setting of the 22 pilot Joint Policing Committees; their function; and the 22 pilot areas chosen for the pilot project. [40844/06]

  Mr. McDowell: Section 36 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides for the establishment of a joint policing committee in each local authority administrative area and as part of the local government structures. The purpose of these committees is to provide a forum where a local authority and the senior Garda officers responsible for the policing of that area, with the participation of Oireachtas members and community interests, can consult, discuss and make recommendations on matters affecting the policing of the area.

The joint policing committees are being established by local authorities and the Garda Commissioner in accordance with guidelines which I issued in June after consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

In view of the innovative nature of the committees and the number which will be established, I decided, following consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, to pilot the committees in 22 local authority areas for a limited period.

The guidelines make special provision for Dublin City Council. Because of the size of the City Council area, in addition to the joint policing committee, they provide for the establishment of five subcommittees of the committee, corresponding to the city’s local areas.

The pilot phase has joint policing committees in Fingal, Offaly and Wicklow County Councils, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford City Councils, Drogheda and Sligo Borough Councils and Athy, Arklow, Ballinasloe, Birr, Bray, Edenderry, Greystones, Letterkenny, Mallow, Tralee, Tuam, Tullamore and Wicklow Town Councils.

Sixteen of these committees have already held meetings, and the remaining six are expected to meet in the near future.