192. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new marked and unmarked Garda cars and vans that were attached to the Garda water unit in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number withdrawn during the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11726/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that there has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years.
€46 million has been provided by the Government for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and 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, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational need. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. 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.
A capital allocation of €10 million has been made available to An Garda Síochána for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I am informed that initial orders have been placed and that, following delivery and fit-out, the allocation of vehicles will commence in April 2019 on the basis of identified operational demand.
I understand from the Garda authorities that the Garda Water Unit is a national resource under the direction and control of the Assistant Commissioner, Roads Policing and Major Event Management and the operational control of the Superintendent, Operational Support Services.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that no new vehicles were allocated to the Garda Water Unit in 2017 and that one marked vehicle was taken out of service as the vehicle had reached end of life.
I am further informed that 2 new vehicles were allocated to the Unit in 2018, one marked and one unmarked. Two unmarked vehicles were taken out of service due to the fact that the vehicles had reached end of life.
I am informed that no new vehicles have been allocated to the Garda Water Unit to date in 2019 and that in total, 7 vehicles are currently assigned to the Garda Water Unit - one van, two trucks and four 4x4 vehicles.