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Garda Resources

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 June 2016

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Questions (146)

Jack Chambers

Question:

146. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of personnel attached to the Garda Síochána national drugs unit at national, regional and divisional levels; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16077/16]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Units and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that the allocation of Gardaí is continually monitored and reviewed taking into account all relevant factors including crime trends, demographics, and security assessments relating to the area in question so as to ensure optimal use is made of Garda human resources.

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that, as of the 30 April 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available there were 244 members assigned to the various Drugs Units throughout the State. The following table gives a breakdown of the number of Garda members assigned to each unit.

It is important to note that all Gardaí have a responsibility in the prevention and detection of criminal activity whether it be in the area of drug offences or otherwise. I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continues to pro-actively and resolutely tackle all forms of drug crime in this jurisdiction. The Garda National Drugs Unit works closely with dedicated Divisional and District Drug Units and other national units, including the Organised Crime Unit, as well as the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in targeting persons involved in the illicit sale and supply of drugs.

As the Deputy will be aware, when the financial crisis hit, the Government of the time introduced a moratorium on recruitment and the four year National Recovery Plan, published in 2010, envisaged a steady reduction in Garda numbers. Thankfully, in a recovering economy, we were able to reopen the Garda College in September 2014, and a total of 700 Garda trainees have been recruited with a further 450 planned to be recruited during the remainder of this year. So far 463 of the new Garda trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream uniform duties nationwide. Another 76 will attest on the 7 July with 150 more to attest in November.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. Key to achieving this goal is the commitment in the Programme for Government, "A Programme for a Partnership Government" to continue the ongoing accelerated Garda recruitment programme with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 15,000. Taking account of projected retirements, the current rate of recruitment will bring Garda numbers to around the 13,000 mark this year. We must, I believe, endeavour to make more rapid progress than this to reach our target of 15,000 and I am engaging with my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in relation to increasing the planned annual intake this year and in coming years.

Drugs Unit Personnel at 30/04/2016

Division

Total

Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) Sth. Central

16

D.M.R. Nth Central

19

D.M.R. North

24

D.M.R. East

9

D.M.R. South

17

D.M.R. West

24

DMR Region

109

Waterford

5

Wexford

6

Kilkenny/Carlow

5

Tipperary

8

South Eastern Region

24

Cork City

16

Cork North

5

Cork West

4

Kerry

5

Limerick

11

Southern Region

41

Donegal

7

Cavan/Monaghan

0

Sligo/Leitrim

6

Louth

6

Northern Region

19

Clare

6

Mayo

5

Galway

11

Roscommon/Longford

6

Western Region

28

Westmeath

7

Meath

4

Kildare

8

Laois/Offaly

0

Wicklow

4

Eastern Region

23

Total

244

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