CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Seanad Commencement Matter
David Stanton T.D., Minister of State,
Department of Justice & Equality
Thursday, 8th December 2016
The need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to set out the position regarding the reopening of the Garda Station in Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
Senator Victor Boyhan
On behalf of the Tánaiste who, unfortunately, cannot be here today, I want to thank the Senator for raising this important matter.
The Senator will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources among the various Garda Divisions and that the Tánaiste has no direct role in the matter.
As the Senator is aware, Maynooth Garda Station is in the Leixlip Garda District which forms part of the Kildare Division and is open from 10.00 am to 12.00 midday, Monday to Saturday.
Furthermore, Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert schemes are in place in the Leixlip area and the District Officer, Leixlip, attends Municipal Forum meetings, Joint Policing Committee meetings and meetings in respect of Maynooth town and its environs.
During the academic year, An Garda Síochána liaises closely with NUI Maynooth university security and staff and, each September, delivers a presentation to all 1st Year students during Fresher’s week that addresses issues surrounding personal safety, general behavioural issues and community engagement.
As on the 31 October 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were, I am informed, 307 members of An Garda Síochána assigned to the Kildare Division. Of these, 12 were assigned to Maynooth Garda Station.
The Division is also 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 Organised Crime Bureau.
In addition, some 57 Garda vehicles operate throughout the Division providing a highly visible and mobile Garda presence. Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources. Indeed, this is reflected in the fact that, for example, local Garda management in the Division have implemented additional policing measures in response to recent incidents, including additional Garda foot patrols, checkpoints and patrols by the Regional Support Unit.
Having said that, the Government has, in its Programme for a Partnership Government, recognised community policing as the embodiment of An Garda Síochána, providing a means of recognising that every community, both urban and rural, has its own concerns and expectations. It commits the Government to ensuring visible, effective and responsive policing in every community, including the most minimal response times possible.
In support of this objective, the Tánaiste has asked the Policing Authority to oversee a review of, among other things, the dispersement of Garda stations in rural areas. I understand that the Authority has formally requested the Garda Síochána Inspectorate to examine the dispersement 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 taking account of:
· the changing environments in rural, developing urban and suburban areas;
· the views of local communities;
· the allocation to and deployment of Garda resources at the local policing level, including the use of the Garda Reserve, Garda facilities and Garda equipment; and
· relevant recommendations made in previous Inspectorate reports.
In addition, the Tánaiste recently announced that the Government has approved her proposal for 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. Appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve of approximately 300.
I understand that, since the reopening of the Garda College, some 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána of whom 35 have been assigned to the Kildare Division. In addition, it is anticipated that, in 2017, as recruitment continues, An Garda Síochána will be in a position to allocate more Probationer Gardaí to the Division.