TUESDAY, APRIL 25 2023
BRENDAN SMITH TD
The Taoiseach referred to the threat from republican paramilitaries as being an ongoing priority of the Government. Those thugs and criminals masquerading as republicans or loyalists do threaten security, in particular in the Border region. In that context, in all discussions that the Government has with the Garda Commissioner, it must be emphasised time and again that adequate resources for Garda divisions should be prioritised at all times. There are unique policing demands in a Border region and that should be factored into all decision-making.
The Taoiseach also referred to the Commission on the Defence Forces. As he is well aware, we do not have any Army barracks in the central Border region. We have an Army barracks in Finner Camp and Frank Aiken Barracks in Dundalk. I do not need to remind the Taoiseach that during the years of the Troubles, when the security of this State was threatened, the role of personnel in barracks local to the Border region and their familiarity with Border crossings was crucial in protecting this State. We need people on the ground, relatively adjacent to the Border region, based in barracks locally.
On Deputy Brendan Smith’s comments, I absolutely agree with what he had to say about republican and loyalist paramilitaries. He made a valid point on Garda resources for the Border counties. We need to take into account the fact that paramilitaries are still active. However, there are no plans at present for any new barracks to be constructed.