Dáil Éireann - Volume 673 - 29 January, 2009

Written Answers. - Private Security Services.

Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason non-licensed security companies are still operating in County Sligo, despite the fact that they have been investigated by Private Security Authority inspectors; the reason no prosecutions of these companies have taken place; his views on whether these illegal security companies being operational is unfair on legitimate licensed companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2794/09]

  Deputy Dermot Ahern: The Deputy will appreciate that the Private Security Authority is an independent statutory body established under the Private Security Services Act, 2004. The primary purpose of the Authority is to control and supervise those who are providing private security services in the State, to establish [126] standards in the provision of those services, and to investigate complaints against providers of such services.

I am informed by the Authority that it investigates all reports and information it receives concerning unlicensed providers of security services which require such action. The Authority has already demonstrated its preparedness to bring cases to Court where there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution for non-compliance with the Act. The Authority has informed me that, to date, 24 cases of non-compliance with the legislation in this regard have gone through the Courts and 19 providers and 1 user of an unlicensed contractor have been prosecuted. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on individual cases but I can say that more cases involving the illegal provision of security services are currently before the Courts.

The Authority informs me that it continues to work closely with the Garda Síochána, Revenue Commissioners, other statutory bodies and the private security industry in developing operational frameworks to support its responsibilities. It aims to ensure that all contractors in the country operate within the law and where there is sufficient evidence, a prosecution will be pursued against those operating outside the legislation.