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Garda Deployment

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 23 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Ceisteanna (130)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

130. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí deployed at Blanchardstown Garda station for each of the past ten years; her plans to address the understaffing at the station; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24524/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am informed by the Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each individual Garda Division. It is the responsibility of the Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his/her Division.

I am further informed by the Commissioner that the Blanchardstown Garda Station forms part of the Blanchardstown District in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West Division. The strength of the Blanchardstown District on 31 March 2017, the latest date for which figures are currently available was 308 members of whom 146 were assigned to Blanchardstown Station. There are 6 Garda Reserves and 15 civilians attached to the Blanchardstown District. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Funding has also been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves.

This plan is progressing apace. I am advised by the Commissioner, that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,000 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide of whom 88 have been assigned to the DMR West Division. I am also informed that another 600 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest this year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end - an increase of 500 since the end of 2016.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, in the coming years. To ensure a continuous pipeline of candidates a new recruitment drive was launched by the Commissioner earlier this month with a closing date of 1 June. The competition is being undertaken by the Public Appointment Service on behalf of the Commissioner and applications should be made to www.publicjobs.ie.

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and I have no doubt that these new resources now coming on stream will benefit all areas of Garda activity.

For the Deputy's information, I have set out in the following tabular the number of Garda assigned to Blanchardstown Garda Station from 2007 to 2016 and on 31 March 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available, as provided by the Commissioner.

Strength of Blanchardstown Garda Station 2007-2017

YEAR

STRENGTH

2007

180

2008

192

2009

204

2010

197

2011

186

2012

162

2013

162

2014

156

2015

154

2016

143

2017*

146

*Up to 31 March 2017

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