258. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if members of An Garda Síochána have remote access to the PULSE system for example on laptops or desktops from home and so on; if members of An Garda Síochána have access to the PULSE system on work issued mobile devices; the Garda Síochána data and information resources and or systems that members have remote access to outside of their work stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27920/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Significant investment is being made by the Government in Garda ICT. Some €342 million, including €217 million in additional funding under the Capital Plan, is being invested in Garda ICT between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting-edge technologies in the fight against crime.
As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda equipment and resources, including remote and/or mobile access to Garda ICT systems are a matter for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current position is that Garda members above the rank of Superintendent are provided with remote access to ICT Systems by way of secure virtual desktop infrastructure. This facility is also extended to Inspectors in an acting Superintendent capacity and to Civilian Directors/Managers.
I am informed that members below this rank or grade are only provided with this remote facility to ICT services after consideration of a business case in that regard.
More generally, I can confirm that An Garda Síochána is currently developing a mobile strategy for operational uses as part of the Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda mobility strategy aims to provide frontline members with greater connectivity to back-office systems, harnessing the power of mobile technology.
I am further informed that it is intended that mobile devices will enable Garda members and staff to be more efficient and effective by having mobile access to relevant core policing applications, a wide-range of up-to-date information and the ability to input and update information in real time. It is also intended to facilitate greater quality of data input, accountability, transparency and governance. This project is currently being piloted in Limerick Division.