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Gardaí to review capacity to deal with child porn investigations

Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the will be insistent that there are strategies to overcome obstacles in detecting and prosecuting internet crime.

Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

…when it comes to the shocking abuse of children that child pornography represents, I will be insistent that we come up with strategies to overcome those obstacles.

THIS WAS THE promise made by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald in the Dáil today in response to a ‘Topical Issue’ raised by Sinn Féin’s Padraig McLoughainn.

Fitzgerald told TDs that the Garda Commissioner has directed a comprehensive review and a strategic realignment of capacity to deal with internet and computer crime – including the area of child pornography.

This follows a report in the Sunday Times about a computer backlog leading to a three-year delay in child porn cases. In some cases, prosecutions are said to have collapsed because of it.

Speaking in the Dáil, Fitzgerald said that a review of processes has already been conducted and new guidelines put in place in October last year.

“The guidelines seek to ensure that relevant procedures are as efficient as possible, consistent with what is required to support effective prosecutions,” she explained. She said she has been advised that all examinations of suspect media are now conducted according to these guidelines.

The phenomenon of internet and computer crime, with its transnational dimension, presents enormous challenges to police forces, including with respect to the effective deployment of resources. In this regard the Commissioner has directed an immediate comprehensive review and a strategic realignment of capacity to deal with crimes of this nature, including in the area of child pornography.

This review will involve liaison with international partners and national experts to identify effective collaborative approaches.

Fitzgerald will meet with the Commissioner to discuss these issues and in particular, to ensure that “child pornography cases are pursued rigorously and quickly”, she told deputies today.

Read: Seven cases of child porn were traced to Irish servers last year>

Read: Two Irishmen arrested over links to Toronto-based child porn site>

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