I acknowledge that Deputy Brendan Smith has raised these issues with me on numerous occasions and that he represents a challenging constituency. I refer to the Border and the rural nature of a large constituency comprising two counties. I am sure he will agree that the distribution of gardaí is exclusively the statutory responsibility of the Garda Commissioner. However, I am advised by the Commissioner that the Garda strength in the Cavan-Monaghan division as of 31 December 2017 was 329. In recent years, 40 newly attested gardaí have been assigned to the division and there has been a net increase of 11 in the strength compared with that which obtained in December 2016. There are also 11 Garda reservists and 38 civilian staff attached to the division. When required, the work of local gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units, including the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the armed support units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
The Deputy will also be aware that there is close and ongoing co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, PSNI, on all aspects of policing, with a particular focus on combating security threats and cross-Border crime. The Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI, who are responsible for operational policing co-operation, have repeatedly emphasised the scope and the value of the close and high-quality co-operation between the two police services in combating crime, protecting community safety and saving lives. The two police services operate a joint cross-Border policing strategy which has as its aims to improve public safety throughout Ireland, to disrupt criminal activity and to enhance the policing capability of both police services on the island.