Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (233)

Jim O'Callaghan


233. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda vehicles available in each Garda division in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48580/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion and this is due to increase further to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020. The capital budget for An Garda Síochána has also been significantly increased - a total of €92 million was provided this year, representing a 50% increase on capital investment in 2018. Capital investment will increase further to €116.5 million in 2020.

With regard to the Garda fleet specifically, an overall investment of €46 million has been agreed by Government between 2016 and 2021. €10 million was made available for the Garda fleet this year. A further €9 million will be provided next year as part of an overall investment of €46 million in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021.

It is important to be clear that under Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána. He is responsible for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources, in light of 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, to ensure their optimum use.

The Deputy will appreciate that the size of the Garda fleet can fluctuate somewhat, as vehicles are added to and removed from the fleet. However in general, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the size of the Garda fleet has increased in recent years and is currently stable: including Divisions and National Units, the fleet on 1 January 2019 included 2,765 vehicles. As of 15 November 2019 the total strength of the fleet including Divisions and National Units is 2,775.

I am assured that the allocation of Garda vehicles is made on the basis of identified operational demands and that the allocation of Garda vehicles is monitored and reviewed on a continual basis. These are operational questions for policing experts and my Department is not involved.

It may also be noted that Garda management has informed me that this year's funding is being used for the purchase and fit-out of over 300 vehicles, of which 289 vehicles have been allocated to date. I understand that orders have been placed for a further 59 vehicles which will be allocated before the end of this year or in Quarter 1 2020. As a result, the Garda authorities consider that it is likely that the Garda fleet will be slightly larger at the end of the year compared to the total number of vehicles at the beginning of the year.

Further, my intention is that a further €1 million funding for the fleet will be included in additional funding to be provided to the Garda Vote before the end of the year.

It is also important to point out that the age profile of the Garda fleet has significantly improved in recent years due to ongoing Government investment - 22% of the Garda fleet is now less than two years old, as compared to only 5% in 2012. And over 80% of the Garda fleet is now less than 6 years old.

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that the Garda authorities are developing a Fleet Strategy, which I expect to set out detail on matters including, for example, the optimum size and composition of the fleet. I expect that the new Governance function in my Department will engage with An Garda Síochána, in that regard, as the process continues.

The number of Garda vehicles attached in each Garda Division in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019 is provided at the link, as requested by the Deputy. These tables reflect vehicles from the fleet assigned to Divisions and exclude vehicles assigned to National Units.