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Garda Resources

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 22 January 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Questions (269)

Willie Penrose


269. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding has been made available in 2019 for the purchase of drones for use by An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3020/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion.  This represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.  Funding to An Garda Síochána for 2019 includes provision of €2.868 million for the purchase of specialised operational equipment.

Very significant capital investment is being made in An Garda Síochána, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deliver on reform and deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community; investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period; as well as considerable capital investment in addressing the deficiencies in the Garda estate.

These actions are in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of the availability of resources and his identified operational demands.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána do not currently use drones to aid policing.  I am further informed that An Garda Síochána has no plans to purchase drones at present, but that a working group within An Garda Síochána continually assesses emerging technology and technological advances, including in relation to drones, with a view to their use in the provision of policing and security services.