100. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in County Westmeath as of 1 November 2017; the number of community gardaí in the division; and the number of Garda Reserve and new recruits assigned to the division since recruitment resumed in 2014. [51665/17]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I should say at the outset that the distribution of Garda personnel is exclusively the statutory responsibility of the Garda Commission
Notwithstanding the Commissioner's responsibility for the distribution of Gardaí, I have provided for the record a breakdown, in tabular form, of the detailed information requested by the Deputy as of 31 October 2017, the latest date for which information is readily available.
The Garda strength of the Westmeath Division on 31 October 2017 was 266 of whom 10 are Community Gardaí. There are also 13 Garda Reserves and 24 Garda civilian staff attached to the Division. 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 Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
As the Deputy will be aware, 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 to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.
I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 27 of whom have been assigned to the Westmeath Division. I look forward to attending the graduation of another 200 trainee Garda on Friday which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end - an net increase of 500 since the end of 2016.
I am also pleased that Budget 2018 maintains this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. A further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. This will see Garda numbers reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.
In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training early in 2018.
This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, including the Westmeath Division, in the coming years.
STRENGTH OF THE WESTMEATH DIVISION 31 OCTOBER 2017