9. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if any of the Garda station closures in counties Sligo and Leitrim are likely to be reversed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40457/16]
Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: I can confirm to the Deputy that I have asked the Policing Authority to oversee a review of, among other matters, the dispersal of Garda stations in rural areas. I understand that the Policing Authority has, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, formally requested the Garda Síochána Inspectorate to examine the dispersal and use of resources available to the Garda Síochána in the delivery of policing services to local communities and to make recommendations to provide a more effective, visible and responsive policing service. The Policing Authority has informed the inspectorate that the review should take account of the changing environments in rural, developing urban and suburban areas, the views of local communities, the allocation and deployment of Garda resources at the local policing level - including the use of Garda reserves, facilities and equipment - and relevant recommendations made in previous inspectorate reports.
The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to her. This includes responsibility for the formulation of proposals regarding the opening and closing of Garda stations, taking into account crime trends and policing priorities, as I have said, so as to make the best possible use of these resources. This was the basis on which the Garda district and station rationalisation programme of 2012-2013 was developed and implemented.
I understand that many of the closed stations that were returned to the control of the Office of Public Works, including those in the Sligo-Leitrim Garda division, have either been sold or assigned to other uses, including for use by community groups.
The Deputy will be aware that I have requested the Garda Commissioner to identify six stations for reopening on a pilot basis in line with the commitment in the programme for Government. This pilot scheme is intended to feed into the wider review being overseen by the Policing Authority. This process should examine the needs of local communities, as I said, and take account of the various relevant issues in determining what needs to be done, if anything, in particular areas.