Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (141)

Willie Penrose

Question:

141. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new Garda public order unit vans that came into the fleet in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50953/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, increasing to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020.

Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. I understand from the Garda authorities that this year's capital allocation of €10 million for the Garda fleet is being used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year. A further €9 million capital funding has been allocated for the Garda fleet in Budget 2020. In addition, a further €1 million funding for the fleet will be included in additional funding to be provided to the Garda Vote before the end of the year.

This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for management and control of An Garda Síochána. He is also responsible for the efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles, in accordance with operational demand. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities no vans specifically fitted for Public Order Units were allocated by An Garda Síochána in 2018 but that 15 such vans have been allocated to date in 2019.

While the issue raised referred to public order vans, the Deputy may also wish to be aware that 42 additional vehicles with a capacity for 4-5 Garda members and two individual cells for the transportation of prisoners were added to the Garda fleet in 2018 and a further 4 such vehicles were added to the fleet in 2019. I am further advised by the Garda authorities that an additional eight such vehicles are due for allocation before year end.