213. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí assigned to the Roscommon and Longford division and the Galway division in each of the years 2010 to 2018, in tabular form; the number of Garda stations in these divisions which have closed since 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12164/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard. I am informed by the Commissioner that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of resources.
Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 recruits have attested as members and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, some 18 and 41 of whom have been assigned to the Roscommon/Longford and the Galway Divisions respectively.
The Government has increased the budget by for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and he also intends to recruit 600 Garda Civilian Staff. This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.
The Garda Commissioner has confirmed that the Government’s commitment to increase the overall strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members will be achieved by the target date of 2021. The Government fully supports the Commissioner’s management decision which is to ensure that increasing numbers of Gardaí are available for frontline duties in the prevention and detection of criminal activity.
The Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme implemented during 2012 and 2013 resulted in the closure of 39 Garda stations in 2012 and 100 Garda stations in 2013. This included 9 stations in the Roscommon/Longford Division and 11 stations in the Galway Division. These are detailed in the table. The primary objective of the Programme was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within An Garda Síochána.
The Programme was based on a review of the Garda Station Network by Garda management which concluded in relation to certain stations, many of which were only open part-time and occupied by a single Garda, that resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if those stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained. In reaching these conclusions, Garda management reviewed all aspects of the Garda Síochána policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations. The Programme supports the provision of a modern 21st century policing service for both urban and rural areas and allows front line Gardaí to be managed and deployed with greater mobility, greater flexibility, and in a more focused fashion, particularly with regard to various targeted police operations. As a result of the Programme, communities have benefited from increased Garda visibility and increased patrolling hours which has enabled An Garda Síochána to deliver an improved policing service to the public.
Garda Station Closures in 2012
Garda Station Closures in 2013
The Garda strength of the Roscommon/Longford and the Galway Divisions from 2009 up to 31 January 2019, as provided by the Garda Commissioner, as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.
The information regarding new recruits as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the following link.
For additional and more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures