346. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will seek the assistance of the Garda Commissioner in respect of the serious concerns of a company (details supplied) regarding drug crime in the area; if the Commissioner's attention will be drawn to the need to assign additional personnel and resources to the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28140/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019. The Commissioner has informed me that he intends to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí along with 600 Garda civilian staff. The recruitment of these additional resources will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí this year from administrative duties to frontline policing duties.
As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of An Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team. I am assured that An Garda Síochána remains resolute in its determination to act against those within society who pose a significant threat to the welfare and well-being of our citizens and communities.
I understand that an operation involving Gardaí from the Tallaght and Rathfarnham Districts was conducted on Thursday 27 June. The Tallaght Gardaí “day of action” targeted persons who have outstanding warrants in relation to drug offences as well as burglary, theft, road traffic and public order matters. A total of 17 people were arrested.
The Garda Commissioner has confirmed that the Government’s commitment to increase the overall strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members will be achieved by the target date of 2021. The Government supports the Commissioner’s management decision which will ensure that increasing numbers of Gardaí are available for frontline duties in the prevention and detection of criminal activity, whether it be in the area of drug offences or otherwise, in 2019 and beyond.
A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime. I have been informed by the Commissioner that the resources coming on stream have enabled him to assign additional resources to the specialist units that come within the ambit of Special Crime Operations, including the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau continues to target organised crime groups nationally, including those involved in drug related crime, burglary and related offences. The Bureau provides support to the Gardaí operating at local level.