169. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the vehicles in the Garda fleet in County Louth; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that gardaí cannot carry out their duties properly due to the unavailability of vehicles for use in community policing; the way in which investment from the €6 million announced in 2017 to enhance the Garda fleet has been invested in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40837/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that there has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. 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. In total in the period 2013 - 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream 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, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.
I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between districts and stations as required by operational requirements.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that in 2017, 17 vehicles were purchased on behalf of the Northern Region, 6 of which were allocated to Louth Division. I am informed that these 6 vehicles comprised 4 cars and 2 vans.
I am further informed that in 2018, 25 vehicles were purchased on behalf of the Northern Region, 19 of which have been allocated to date, including 3 to Louth Division, namely 1 car, 1 van and 1 motorcycle. The remaining 6 vehicles are in the course of delivery to Northern Region and are awaiting allocation.
Finally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that under the Capital Plan already referred to, €10 million will be made available to An Garda Síochána for the purchase of vehicles in 2019. I am informed by the Garda authorities that in all the circumstances, they are satisfied there are sufficient resources to address the fleet requirements in the Louth Division.