Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Ceisteanna (220, 226)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

220. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda stations here which do not have broadband. [51548/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

226. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda stations here which do not have broadband. [51633/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 and 226 together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána as well as for decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources, including in relation to ICT, in light of his identified operational demands. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

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

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to Parliamentary Questions No. 220 and 226 for answer on 11 December 2018 in which the Deputy requested the number of Garda stations here that do not have broadband.
 As the Deputy will recall the information that she requested could not be obtained in the time available and I said that I would contact her again when the details were to hand. I apologise for the delay in responding, while I consulted with An Garda Síochána on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years.  An allocation of €1.76 billion has been provided to An Garda Síochána for 2019. I am also pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.
 As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána. Furthermore, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda equipment and resources, including ICT resources and the networking of Garda stations, are matters for the Garda Commissioner in light of availability of resources and identified operational demands.  As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.
 I am informed by the Garda authorities that broadband networks and services are used to connect stations to the Garda network for official purposes. All of the connections to the Garda stations are managed in the telecommunications branch of An Garda Síochána to ensure the speed of the network connection meets the requirements of the particular location.
There are 565 Garda stations in the State. I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the number which are networked can vary but that at present, 519 of these stations are fully networked.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that any member attached to a currently unconnected station can access PULSE at their local district station. Members in non-networked locations can also contact the Garda Information Services Center (GISC) or an associated networked station if required.
I am further advised by the Garda authorities that options for providing members attached to those remaining stations not yet networked with local access to Garda ICT services are actively being explored. This includes an assessment of the availability or otherwise of local broadband services and/or the provision of mobile technology.
I trust this information is of assistance.