314. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the action she is taking to enhance policing services in the towns of Carrigans and St. Johnston, and throughout the Laggan Valley area of County Donegal; if she is aware of the impact on response times of the practice of deploying gardaí stationed in Letterkenny to respond to reported incidents in the aforementioned towns, which are in excess of 20 km away; the number of hours each day during which the Garda Síochána station in Carrigans is manned by gardaí; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6545/16]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Districts and as Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keep this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure the optimum use is made of these resources.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the area mentioned by the Deputy is within the Letterkenny Garda District. The District includes Garda stations in Ballybofey, Carrigans, Castlefin, Convoy, Letterkenny, Lifford, Newtowncunningham and Raphoe. As of the 29 February, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were 157 members, 19 Garda Reserves and 15 Civilians assigned to the District.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is vital that An Garda Síochána is renewed to ensure it has the capacity to provide effective and visible policing throughout the country. With this objective in mind, there have been seven intakes of Garda Trainees to the Garda College since it was reopened in September 2014 giving a total intake of 700. A further 450 will be recruited between now and the end of this year. So far, 395 of the new Garda Trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream uniform duties in communities nationwide. I am assured by Garda management that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of newly attested Gardaí. I have been informed that 10 of the newly attested Gardaí have been assigned to the Donegal Garda Division.
With regard to the response times and opening hours, I have asked the Garda Commissioner for information on these specific issues and I will write directly to the Deputy in this regard.