It has emerged today that the specialist unit within An Garda Síochána tasked with assessing intelligence related to the financing of terrorism has just two employees attached to it.
The Terrorist Financing Intelligence Unit receives an average of over 800 reports of suspicious transactions with possible links to international terrorism each year. Despite this, there has been only one successful prosecution in the State.
Commenting on the reports, Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD said, “Ireland cannot consider itself immune from the existing international terrorist threat and neither has the domestic threat ever fully gone away.
“We know for certain this month that there are a number of persons here whose activities in support of terrorism give rise to concern. While their movements are monitored somewhat closely by Gardaí, the lack of assessment of their financial transactions is an issue.
“In 2016, then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald assured me that the Government was committed to providing An Garda Síochána with all necessary resources to enhance their efforts to counter terrorism. It’s clear today however, that one crucial aspect of those efforts is not being properly supported to gather and share intelligence.
“The Government need to heed the advice from external organisations such as the Financial Action Task Force which is mandated to examine terrorist financing and who has warned that Ireland’s lack of terrorist financing prosecutions is not consistent.
“Increasing the number of staff at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and in turn boosting both the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Terrorist Financing Intelligence Unit is absolutely essential at this point
“Having well-resourced, highly operational units in place may go some way towards deterring those intent on using Ireland as a place where they can source their money under any radar,” he concluded.