Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ceisteanna (187)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

187. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a development (details supplied); the number of additional personnel being assigned to the station; the location from which they are being redeployed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10881/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware 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 (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Síochána Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016 – 2021, which is an ambitious 5 year building Programme reflecting the priorities of An Garda Síochána, will benefit some 30 locations throughout the State. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Programme does not provide for significant building works at Cootehill Garda station.

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.

I understand that Cootehill Garda station forms part of the Baileboro Garda District in the Cavan/Monaghan Division. I am informed by the Commissioner that on the 31 January 2018, the latest date for which figures are readily available, the strength of the Cavan/Monaghan Division was 329, 66 of whom are assigned to the Baileboro District and 6 assigned to Cootehill Garda station. There are also 11 Garda Reserves and 38 Garda civilian staff attached to the 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.

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 40 have been assigned to the Cavan/Monaghan 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 Garda Division, including the Cavan/Monaghan Division.

The number of newly attested Gardai allocated to the Cavan/Monaghan Division since the recommencement of recruitment is outlined below. It should be noted that Cootehill Garda station is not a training station.

DIVISION

STATION

2015

2016

2017

CAVAN / MONAGHAN

MONAGHAN

5

1

7

CAVAN

5

7

10

CARRICKMACROSS

5

I am also informed that the resourcing of each Garda region and division is fully considered within the overall context of the needs and requirements of Garda regions throughout the country. Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

The allocation and transfer of Garda personnel is determined by a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, operational strategies and transfers applications, including welfare issues. When allocations are taking place, comprehensive consultation is carried out with local Garda management during which all factors are taken into consideration. Where a deficiency in resources is identified the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly.