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Question

13. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new recruits allocated and transfers in of existing gardaí in the past four years to each of the Cork Garda divisions; the number of transfers out and retirements out of each Cork Garda division in the period; if population growth has been factored into the allocation process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12002/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Firstly I would like to reiterate for the House that with regard to the deployment of Garda resources, including personnel, to specific areas, the Deputy will appreciate that this is solely the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner and his management team.
I am advised by the Commissioner that the distribution of Garda resources is constantly monitored and a distribution model is used that takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and overall policing needs at local level. It is then a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available, having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs. This applies equally in both rural and urban areas.
I would emphasise that is not appropriate to simply determine the allocation of Garda resources on the basis of population size alone, as it fails to take account of, among other things, the fact that crime levels and types can vary significantly in communities of similar population size.
I am advised by the Commissioner that the information requested by  the Deputy regarding the number of Gardaí that have transferred out of the Divisions in question, is not readily available and would require a disproportionate amount of Garda resources to compile.  However, there is a general policy within An Garda Síochána not to transfer a Garda from a Division without the provision of a replacement. I am informed by the Commissioner that the number of Garda  who retired on a voluntary, compulsory or a cost neutral early retirement basis in the Cork Divisions during the years 2015- 2018 and up to 7 March, 2019 was 96.  I have provided for the record a detailed breakdown of this figure by Division as requested by the Deputy.
I am pleased to note, as advised by the Commissioner that the strength of the Cork Divisions as of 31 January the latest date for which figures are currently available was 1344, an increase of 10% since 31 Dec 2015. 
When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, some 128 of whom have been assigned to the Cork Divisions.
I am further informed that it is the Commissioner’s intention to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda civilian Staff. The recruitment of these additional Garda staff will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline duties for which they are trained. The injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities.
The Commissioner has publicly spoken about issues like protecting our most vulnerable and he has highlighted that his priority is a policing model that will provide the best outcomes for communities.
Furthermore, the Commissioner has been provided with an additional €100 million in 2019 bringing his total budget to almost €1.8 billion.  This substantial investment will allow the accelerated recruitment programme to continue in tandem with the deployment of new and leading edge technology to support our front line Gardaí in carrying out their work of delivering a visible, effective and responsive police service to communities across all Garda Divisions, including the Cork  Divisions in 2019 and future years.
Retirements from An Garda Síochána 2015-2019 by Cork Division 

  Cork City Cork North Cork West Total
Year        
2015 17 6 4 27
2016 7 6 4 17
2017 12 3 8 23
2018 12 6 3 21
2019 5 1 2 8
Total 53 22 21 96
* includes retirements, on a voluntary, compulsory or a cost neutral early retirement basis