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Question

51. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the locations of the Garda stations have been agreed, decided or identified in respect of the Government commitment to reopen six Garda stations in the programme for a partnership Government; if not, is there a timeframe for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37985/16]

52. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the recent industrial dispute involving the gardaí has caused a delay in the reopening of six Garda stations, as committed to by the Government in the programme for a partnership Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37986/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 52 together.
The Deputy will be aware that the Government has, in the 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 line with the commitment in the Programme, I have requested the Garda Commissioner, while fully cognisant of her statutory functions in relation to the distribution of Garda resources in the State, to identify 6 stations for reopening on a pilot basis to determine possible positive impacts that such openings will have on criminal activity, with special emphasis on burglaries, theft and public order. Notwithstanding any issues arising from the dispute referred to by the Deputy, I understand that work is currently underway in An Garda Síochána to identify the 6 stations for inclusion in the pilot, including consultation with the Policing Authority.
It is intended that the results of the pilot scheme will feed into the wider review being overseen by the Authority into, amongst other things, the dispersal of Garda stations in rural areas. In this regard, I understand that the Authority has formally requested the Garda Síochána Inspectorate to examine the dispersal 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.