In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. The Commissioner is also responsible for the efficient use of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles and Garda personnel among the various Garda divisions. 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 so as to ensure their optimum use.
The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2020 of €1.882 billion. I am also pleased to have secured an overall increase of €70 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2021 to an unprecedented €1.952 billion for 2021.
Significant capital investment is being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million specifically for the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. 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.
Of this investment, a total of €9 million was made available for purchase and fit-out of additional Garda vehicles in 2020. I am also informed that in order to protect the ongoing availability of vehicles and in anticipation of the impact of public health restrictions on motor factory or fit-out workplaces, 94 additional vehicles were purchased by the Garda authorities in March 2020 at a cost of €2.4m and fit-out costs of €600,000. A further €8 million for continued investment in the Garda Fleet will be made in 2021, in addition to the highest ever investment of approximately €15 million in the Garda Transport Fleet in 2020 – a proportion of which relates to the Garda pandemic response in support of public health guidelines.
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.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that as of 30 September 2020, there were 3,046 vehicles attached to the Garda Fleet, including vehicles attached to the national units. As of the same date, a total of 495 Garda vans, marked and unmarked, were deployed nationally across all Garda regions.
I understand that the number of new marked Garda vans that have come into the fleet to date in 2020 and the number of marked Garda vans that have been withdrawn from the fleet to date is shown in the table below.
Marked Garda Vans
Allocated 1/1/2020 – 15/10/2020
Removed from the Fleet 01/01/2020 – 15/10/2020
There are a further 8 vans currently being fitted out as Marked Twin Cell Vans, which will be available to be allocated before the end of 2020.