Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (281)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

281. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new dogs that joined the Garda dog unit to date in 2019; the number of dogs withdrawn from the unit to date in 2019; the number of horses that joined the Garda mounted unit to date in 2019; the number of horses withdrawn from the unit to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51681/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources provided 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. As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána as well as for decisions in relation to the allocation of Garda resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda Mounted Unit is based at Áras an Uachtaráin, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. The unit has a national remit under the direction and control of the Assistant Commissioner, Roads Policing and Major Event Management and the operational control of the Superintendent, Operational Support Services.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 13 horses attached to the Garda Mounted Unit. I am informed that 1 horse retired from Garda Mounted Unit in 2019. I am further informed that efforts are being made by An Garda Síochána to identify 2 suitable horses to bring the Unit up to a strength of 15. I am informed that 2 horses are currently being assessed in that regard, however it should be noted that this assessment process is ongoing and these horses have not at this stage been added to the Unit.

I have been advised by the Garda authorities that the Garda Dog Unit is based at Kilmainham Garda Station, in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) and has a national remit. Dog units have also been established in the Southern Region based at Togher Garda Station, Cork, and Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick. I understand that facilities for a future regional dog unit have also been included in the Western Region Garda Headquarters, Galway.

I am informed that there are currently 24 dogs attached to the Garda Dog Unit, comprising general purpose (search), drugs and explosive detection dogs. I am further informed that 1 dog was added to the Garda Dog Unit in 2019 and that 4 dogs were withdrawn from the Unit in 2019. It may be noted that the Garda Commissioner has recently indicated to me that he intends for An Garda Síochána to invest in purchasing and training additional dogs next year.