408. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to recruitment and retention issues within An Garda Síochána in County Donegal; the efforts carried out to date to ensure adequate numbers of gardaí are present in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45137/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who has responsibility to manage and control generally the administration and business of the Garda Síochána, including by arranging for the recruitment, training and appointment of its members and civilian staff and I, as Minister, have no direct involvement in the matter.
The personnel strength of An Garda Síochána in the Donegal Division as of 30 September 2018 is approximately 400. A breakdown of personnel attached to the Donegal Division is available on my Department’s website at www.justice.ie. A total of 42 probationer Gardaí have been allocated to the Donegal Garda Division since 2015 following the lifting of the moratorium on Garda recruitment. This includes the allocation of 14 probationers to date in 2018, and it is envisaged that the Donegal Division will receive a further allocation of personnel from the Garda College in December 2018.
I am informed by the Commissioner that the resourcing of each Garda division is fully considered within the overall context of the needs and requirements of Garda divisions 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 Management during which all factors are taken into consideration. Where a deficiency in resources is identified the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly.
The Deputy will be aware An Garda Síochána is currently undertaking a programme of accelerated recruitment, as part of the Government’s commitment to a strengthened service through the Five Year High Level Reform and Workforce Plan to achieve an overall workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, including 15,000 Garda members. To support the Commissioner in this recruitment, I have also secured funding in Budget 2019 which facilitates the recruitment of up to 800 more Gardaí next year. The Budget also provides for the necessary civilian Garda staff to fill critical skills gaps and enable the further redeployment of Gardaí to front line duties.