CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

 

Topical Issue Debate

 

29 November, 2016

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality what additional Gardai resources will be made available to the Kildare Garda Division, when will these resources become operational; and if she will make a statement on the matter

Deputy James Lawless

On behalf of the Tánaiste, I would like to thank the Deputy for raising this matter.

 

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. 300 appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and the Tánaiste has no direct role in the matter. The Tánaiste is informed by the Garda Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each individual Garda Division including the Kildare Division with a view to providing an effective and responsive police service.

I am informed that as of the 31 October 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were 307 members of An Garda Síochána assigned to the Kildare Division. Further, the Kildare Division is supported by 22 members of the Garda Reserve and 29 Civilian Staff. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organise Crime Bureau.

I am advised that Local Garda management in Kildare have also implemented additional policing measures in response to recent incidents in the Division, including additional Garda foot patrols, checkpoints and patrols by the Regional Support Unit.

The Tánaiste recently met a group of local public representatives from Kildare and listened carefully to their concerns in relation to crime and policing. The Minister is of course happy to highlight particular matters of local concern for attention by the Garda authorities.

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 will require some 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years in addition to the 1,200 that will have been recruited by the end of this year since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. Since the reopening of the Garda College, 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána of whom 35 have been assigned to the Kildare Division.

 

The Government's plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan.

This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and the Tánaiste expects that the Kildare Division, like all other Garda Divisions will benefit from these new resources becoming available.

ENDS