Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (363)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

363. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the Garda stations not connected to the PULSE system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45322/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

There has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. An allocation of €1.76 billion was provided to An Garda Síochána for 2019. I am also pleased to have secured a further €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána. Furthermore, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda equipment and resources, including ICT resources and the networking of Garda stations, are matters for the Commissioner in light of availability of resources and identified operational demands. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that broadband networks and services are used to connect stations to the Garda network for official purposes. All of the connections to the Garda stations are managed in the telecommunications branch of An Garda Síochána to ensure the speed of the network connection meets the requirements of the particular location.

As at the 24 October 2019 there were 565 Garda stations in the State. I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the number which are networked can vary but that as at 24 October, 519 of these stations are fully networked.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that any member attached to a currently unconnected station can access PULSE at their local district station. Members in non-networked locations can also contact the Garda Information Services Centre (GISC) or an associated networked station if required.

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that options for providing members attached to those remaining stations not yet networked with local access to Garda ICT services are actively being explored. This includes an assessment of the availability or otherwise of local broadband services and/or the provision of mobile technology.