332. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to increase the number of Garda Síochána in east Meath; to review the operational control of this district which is under the Ashbourne area, and to place it in a new district including Drogheda. [6881/16]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): 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 I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
Ashbourne Garda District is in the Meath Garda Division. I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that of the 277 Gardaí assigned to the Division, 103 are assigned to the Ashbourne District. There are also 9 Garda Reserves and 5 civilians attached to the District.
Since the Garda College reopened in September 2014, there have been seven intakes of Garda Trainees giving a total intake of 700, with a further 450 to be recruited this year. So far 395 of the new Garda Trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned by the Garda Commissioner to Garda stations throughout the country to carry out mainstream uniform policing duties. I have been informed that of these, 15 have been assigned to the Meath Division. I am assured by Garda management that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of newly attested Gardaí.
There are currently no plans to alter the existing Districts. Any proposals of this nature must be included in the draft annual policing plan prepared by the Garda Commissioner for the approval of the Policing Authority and the consent of the Minister for Justice and Equality in accordance with section 22 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.