Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (508)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

508. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to reverse the decision to downgrade Gorey Garda district resulting in the loss of its superintendent in 2013; the number of gardaí in the Gorey area in each of the years from 2007 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19337/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware, that the manner in which the resources of An Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard.

On 18 December 2018 last, the Government endorsed the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) and agreed to accept all 157 key recommendations contained in the report, including those related to how An Garda Síochána should be structured and managed to support front line policing.

On the same day, I also published a four year high level plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which sets out the approach to implementation of the Commission's recommendations. In that regard the development of the local policing model is one of the priority projects being taken forward under A Policing Service for the Future in 2019.

A pilot design has already been implemented in four pilot divisions; Cork City, Dublin South Central, Galway and Mayo. These pilots will help to refine this model to ensure that communities are served by a modern, highly professional, visible police service, which, going forward, I am confident will benefit areas such as Gorey and, more generally, the Wexford Division greatly, as an innovative and progressive way in which to police into the future.

As the Deputy is aware Gorey Garda Station now forms part of the Enniscorthy District in the Wexford Division following a restructuring of the Wexford Division from 4 to 3 districts and the Gorey district amalgamating with the Enniscorthy district. This is more in line with the thinking behind the new district Policing model, as outlined in the CoFPI report, with its greater emphasis on frontline and community policing and district policing teams being large enough to provide a full community service.

The Garda strength of the Wexford Division on the 31st March 2019, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 329, of whom 126 are assigned to the Enniscorthy District with 52 of these assigned to Gorey Garda Station. There are also 15 Garda Reserves and 37 Garda civilian staff attached to the Wexford Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

The Garda strength by rank of the Wexford Division from 2009 to 31 March 2019 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 90 were assigned to the Wexford Division.

The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff. This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.

I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions including the Wexford Division.

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link.