Written Answers. - Garda Fleet.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

470 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if adequate Garda patrol cars are available to the various sectors within the force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28050/01]

Since I took office there has been significant investment in the Garda fleet which has expanded in size to a total of approximately 2,000 operational vehicles. These vehicles are assigned to Garda divisions throughout the country which in turn allocate the vehicles to their various districts and stations. The need to allocate additional vehicles or reallocate vehicles is constantly assessed on an ongoing basis. Factors such as population, crime and area are taken into consideration in the process of assessing vehicle allocation or the need for extra transport.

Provision is made in the Garda Vote each year for the purchase/delivery of vehicles for the Garda fleet and the maintenance of existing vehicles. This year more than £6 million or 7.6 million will be spent on the purchase of new vehicles. The Garda fleet is also being constantly upgraded in order to ensure that the most modern facilities are available to members of the Garda Síochána in the performance of their duties.

As the Deputy is aware, a Garda transport advisory group has been set up to review the optimum size and structure of the Garda fleet and overall fleet replacement policy. This group includes representatives from the Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Department of Finance. Any recommendations made by the group will receive careful and detailed consideration.