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International Combating Online Child Abuse Training Course - Press Release

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in conjunction with members of An Garda Síochána has hosted an international training course relating to combating online child abuse.

The training course, which was facilitated by the FBI Violent Crimes Against Children program and hosted by An Garda Siochana, took place at National Support Services Offices, Harcourt Street between the 15th February and the 19th February 2016.  The purpose of the training was to enhance the capability of course participants to proactively investigate child exploitation. 

Investigators from An Garda Síochána’s, Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and Computer Crime Investigation Unit (CCIU) were joined by colleagues from within the FBI and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for the duration of the training.  The GNPSB which was established in 2015 has as part of its remit, the investigation of sexual crimes against children including the production and distribution of child pornography. The GNPSB and CCIU regularly work in partnership with international law enforcement agencies including the FBI, INTERPOL, and Europol on cross border operations.  This course is part of on-going staff training within the GNPSB and CCIU who receive national and international training to the highest standard.

On the 19th February 2016, course participants attended a ceremony at the United States Embassy in Dublin where the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin F. O’Malley presented attendees with course certificates.  In attendance was Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, National Support Services, who praised the GNPSB and the CCIU for the difficult work the units undertake in the area of child exploitation. "The dedicated and resourceful staff in these units work tirelessly to combat child abuse,” said Assistant Commissioner Byrne. 

Assistant Commissioner Byrne also praised the FBI for the assistance and training provided to An Garda Síochána on this and on other occasions. He stated that it was very reassuring that such police cooperation exists to combat what is truly an international crime. 

Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke, Head of the PSNI Public Protection Branch, said: "I am delighted that officers from the PSNI were able to avail of this opportunity to join colleagues in An Garda Siochana and the FBI on this course. Tackling the abuse of children is a priority for us and our participation in this course reflects our continued commitment to work with our colleagues both in the Republic of Ireland and further afield to ensure all opportunities are maximised to protect children from harm online and to bring offenders to justice.”
Ambassador O’Malley stated: "It is truly commendable to see the FBI share its expert knowledge and skill with An Garda Siochana and the Police Service of Northern Ireland so that together we can combat this injustice and work to ensure that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment, free from abuse and neglect.”
An Garda Siochana are represented on the ‘Violent Crimes Against Children International Task Force’, which is a select cadre of international law enforcement experts working together to formulate and deliver a dynamic global response to crimes against children.  The task force, which is coordinated by the FBI, encourages positive action against online child abuse through the establishment and development of strategic partnerships, the vigorous engagement of relevant law enforcement, and the extensive use of liaison and operational support to facilitate multi-lateral cooperation.