As the Deputy will be aware, there has been unprecedented investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement and provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. This represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018. Very significant capital investment is also being made in Garda ICT infrastructure and the Garda estate.
The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources, including types of vehicles purchased and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions, is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
I am pleased to confirm that €10 million has been made available for the purchase of Garda vehicles in 2019.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that fifteen large vans have been purchased and are currently being fitted out as public order vehicles. In accordance with the arrangements as outlined above, the allocation of these vehicles across the various Garda divisions will be a matter for decision by the Garda authorities on the basis of operational demand.