Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (307)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

307. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of full time equivalent gardaí stationed in Ronanstown and Ballyfermot Garda stations, by type of gardaí (details supplied); his plans to increase the number of gardaí stationed at these stations in the coming years; if his attention has been drawn to the level of antisocial behaviour in Palmerstown, Dublin 20 which is served by these two stations; and his views on whether the current allocation of gardaí is sufficient to address the needs of the areas covered. [9387/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who 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.

As the Deputy will be aware the Garda Stations of Ballyfermot and Ronanstown form part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West Division. I am informed by the Commissioner that the strength of the DMR West Division on 31 January 2018, the latest date for which information is readily available, was 667 of whom 64 are designated as Community Gardaí. There are also 26 Garda Reserves and 53 Garda civilian staff attached to the DMR West Division. 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 Armed Support Units, 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 to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.

I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána of whom 137 have been assigned to the DMR West Division. Of these 18 and 14 have been assigned to Ronanstown and Ballyfermot Garda Stations respectively.

I am pleased to say that Garda numbers, taking account of retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 - a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016.

I am also pleased that funding is in place to maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce to ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. Also 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.

In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training in 2018.

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 needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Division, including the DMR West Division.

I have requested a report from the Commissioner in relation to the measure in place to tackle antisocial behaviour in the area referred to by the Deputy and I will write directly to the Deputy when the report is to hand.

For the Deputy’s information I have set out below in tabular form the total number of Gardaí and the number of Gardaí categorised as Community Gardaí attached to Ballyfermot and Ronanstown Garda stations as of 31 January 2018, the latest date for which figures are readily available.

Station

Community Gardaí

Gardaí

Total

Ballyfermot

6

77

83

Ronanstown

10

78

88

Sentencing Policy

Ceisteanna (308)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

308. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the penalties in place for theft will be examined in view of the rise in the number of work and farm equipment burglaries; his plans to address the penalties which are in place for such offences and for repeat offenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9407/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that the law already treats theft and burglary very seriously. Theft carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment. For burglary, the maximum penalty is 14 years' imprisonment, and for aggravated burglary, a sentence of up to life imprisonment can be imposed. In 2015, the law in this area was further strengthened by the introduction of legislation targeting repeat offenders. The Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Act 2015 seeks to ensure that persons awaiting trial for burglary of a dwelling who have recent convictions or pending charges for domestic burglaries can be denied bail in appropriate cases. The Act also provides for consecutive sentences for prolific burglars of dwellings. In addition, the Criminal Justice Act 2007 provides for presumptive minimum sentences for certain repeat offences in certain circumstances. The offences to which these presumptive minimum sentences apply include aggravated burglary.

I will continue to keep this area of law under review.

Prisoner Transfers

Ceisteanna (309)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

309. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the criteria used to determine whether to grant an application from a prisoner to transfer to a different prison; if there are different procedures for different categories of prisoners, different stages of their sentences and different prisons; if agreement on a Ministerial, governor's or head of the Prison Service basis is required; the number of such requests referred to the Minister each year; and the number granted and refused respectively. [9408/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service (IPS) that prisoner transfers are carried out for a number of reasons but in general they fall into two categories, i.e. those carried out for operational reasons and those effected at the request of a prisoner.

Transfers for operational reasons may be necessary for a variety of reasons including overcrowding, the need to protect a prisoner from other prisoners or to reallocate cell space to another prisoner or group of prisoners. Other common reasons for prisoner transfers include court appearances, to participate in a particular training or educational course or to assist in reintegration. Recommendations are also made to me in relation to the transfer of long term sentenced prisoners by the Parole Board.

When making decisions in relation to the transfer of prisoners for the two categories listed above, a range of factors are taken into consideration including:

- The safety and best interests of the prisoner

- The nature and gravity of the offence

- Length of sentence served to date

- Length of sentence left to serve

- Behaviour in prison

- Prisoner’s medical needs

- Previous criminal record

- The views of local management and services

- The capacity of a receiving prison to accommodate a given prisoner

My statutory powers in relation to decision-making in respect of transfers have been delegated to a number of senior officials in the IPS. The consent of neither prison governors nor the Director General IPS is required.

All decision making staff are aware of the need to take appropriate account of all the criteria to be applied to decision making in a balanced and considered manner.

I am advised by the IPS that statistics are not kept concerning the category of transfer applications, however the figures for all prison transfer applications from 2016 to date are outlined in the table below.

 

2016 table

Prison

Total Applications

Approved

Rejected

Deferred

Arbour Hill Prison

144

96

47

1

Castlerea Prison

675

615

59

1

Cloverhill Remand Prison

908

869

33

6

Cork Prison

767

729

35

3

Limerick Prison

859

800

52

7

Loughan House Place Of Detn.

515

273

234

8

Midlands Prison

1,672

1,528

132

12

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

56

55

1

0

Mountjoy Prison (Male)

718

559

149

10

Portlaoise Prison

627

572

48

7

Shelton Abbey Place Of Detn.

586

237

344

5

St. Patricks Institution

16

13

3

0

Training Unit Place Of Detn.

370

223

140

7

Wheatfield Place of Detention

1,869

1,810

52

7

Total 

9,782

8,379

1,329

74

 

2017   table

Prison  

Total   Applications

Approved

Rejected

Deferred

Arbour   Hill Prison

144

96

47

1

Castlerea   Prison

675

615

59

1

Cloverhill   Remand Prison

908

869

33

6

Cork   Prison

767

729

35

3

Limerick   Prison

859

800

52

7

Loughan   House Place Of Detn.

515

273

234

8

Midlands   Prison

1,672

1,528

132

12

Mountjoy   Prison ( Female)

56

55

1

0

Mountjoy   Prison ( Male )

718

559

149

10

Portlaoise   Prison

627

572

48

7

St.   Patricks Institution

16

13

3

0

Training   Unit Place Of Detn.

370

223

140

7

Wheatfield   Place of Detention

1,869

1,810

52

7

Total

9,196

8,142

985

69

2018 table (to date)

Establishment Name

Total Applications

Approved

Rejected

Deferred

Arbour   Hill Prison

54

34

20

0

Castlerea   Prison

139

132

6

1

Cloverhill   Remand Prison

117

116

1

0

Cork   Prison

150

129

20

1

Limerick   Prison

122

116

6

0

Loughan   House Place Of Detn.

67

44

23

0

Midlands   Prison

354

329

22

3

Mountjoy   Prison ( Female)

16

16

0

0

Mountjoy   Prison ( Male )

136

119

14

3

Portlaoise   Prison

145

137

8

0

Shelton   Abbey Place Of Detn.

42

29

12

1

Wheatfield   Place of Detention

356

346

8

2

Total

1,698

1,547

140

11

Garda Accommodation

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Ceisteanna (310)

James Browne

Ceist:

310. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if each capital application to his Department for An Garda Síochána projects in County Wexford will be provided; the type and extent of each application; the status of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9413/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works, which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.

This includes identifying and progressing any necessary remedial or refurbishment works required at individual stations. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

The Deputy will be aware, however, that the new Divisional Garda Headquarters in Wexford is now fully operational having been opened on 22 September 2017.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the specific information requested by the Deputy and will revert directly to him when it is to hand.

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

311. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Douglas Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9427/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

312. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Passage West Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9428/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

313. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Bishopstown Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9429/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

314. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Togher Garda sub district, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9430/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

315. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Carrigaline Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9431/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

316. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Blackrock Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9433/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

317. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Anglesea Street sub district Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9434/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

318. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to Crosshaven Garda station, County Cork; and the number that have been allocated for each of the past eight years. [9435/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 to 318, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who 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.

The Deputy will be aware that Douglas, Passage West, Bishopstown, Togher, Carrigaline, Blackrock, Anglesea Street and Crosshaven Garda Stations are located in the Cork City Division. I am informed by the Commissioner that the strength of the Cork City Division on 31 January 2018, the latest date for which information is currently available, was 666. There are also 42 Garda Reserves and 68 Garda civilian staff attached to the Cork City Division. 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 Armed Support Units, 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 to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.

I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 38 have been assigned to the Cork City Division. I am pleased to say that Garda numbers, taking account of retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 - a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016.

I am also pleased that funding is in place to maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce to ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. Also 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.

In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training in 2018.

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 needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Division, including the Cork City Division.

For the Deputy’s information I have set out below in tabular form the strength of the Garda stations concerned for the years 2010 to 2017 and as of 31 January 2018.

Strength of Douglas Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

27

2011

27

2012

26

2013

24

2014

24

2015

21

2016

20

2017

19

2018

20

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Passage West Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

4

2011

3

2012

3

2013

3

2014

3

2015

2

2016

2

2017

2

2018

2

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Bishopstown Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

22

2011

24

2012

22

2013

21

2014

21

2015

21

2016

21

2017

19

2018

20

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Togher Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

60

2011

55

2012

55

2013

51

2014

52

2015

50

2016

46

2017

56

2018

57

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Carrigaline Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

21

2011

20

2012

19

2013

21

2014

19

2015

19

2016

20

2017

20

2018

19

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Blackrock Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

30

2011

29

2012

33

2013

31

2014

32

2015

25

2016

23

2017

23

2018

23

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Anglesea Street Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

275

2011

274

2012

271

2013

278

2014

275

2015

270

2016

282

2017

297

2018

295

*Up to 31 January 2018

Strength of Crosshaven Garda Station 2010-2018*

Year

Total

2010

3

2011

3

2012

3

2013

3

2014

2

2015

2

2016

2

2017

2

2018

2

*Up to 31 January 2018