Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current number of members of An Garda Síochána serving in the Ardee and mid-Louth area; the number in 2011; if she will increase the current number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6758/16]
334. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the number of Garda Síochána serving in the Ardee and mid-Louth area; the number serving in 2011; if she will increase the number currently serving in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6883/16]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 324 and 334 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, 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.
Ardee District forms part of the Louth Division. I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that on 29 February 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were 285 members assigned to this Division. I am further informed that on the same date, there were 35 members and 9 Garda Reserves assigned to Ardee Garda District. The District includes Castlebellingham, Collon and Louth Garda Stations. On 31 December 2011, there were 40 members and 6 Garda Reserves assigned to Ardee Garda District.
I am further informed that the work of local Gardaí in the Louth Division is augmented by a number of Garda national units which are assisting with covert and overt operations targeting prolific criminals and dissidents who reside within and outside this jurisdiction. Furthermore, there is ongoing liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland under the auspices of an agreed Cross-Border Policing Strategy to continue the excellent levels of co-operation between both police services in addressing crime and terrorist activities in all its manifestations.
As the Deputy will appreciate it is vital that An Garda Síochána is renewed in order 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 taken in 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. The Garda Commissioner has informed me that 18 of these newly attested members have been assigned to the Louth Division. I am assured by the Commissioner that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of newly attested Gardaí.