579. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding has been provided in 2019 to purchase additional Garda mountain bikes; if so, when the bikes will come into the fleet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14152/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The budgetary allocation to An Garda Síochána for 2019 amounts to €1.76 billion. Significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána in terms of the Garda Fleet, ICT infrastructure and the estate. This continuing investment is intended 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.
In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of his identified operational demands. Decisions in relation to the effective and efficient use of resources, including purchase and allocation of mountain bikes, are for the Commissioner. I understand 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.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that 11 new mountain bikes were allocated to various Garda Districts in 2018 and a further 9 mountain bikes will be allocated to various Garda Districts in 2019.
The Garda authorities have informed me that there are sufficient funds available within the 2019 Garda budget to purchase any additional mountain bikes should there be an operational requirement to do so.