736. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Justice the funding allocated to the Garda cyber crime unit in 2020 and 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52416/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I can assure the Deputy that the prevention and investigation of cybercrime is a priority for the Government and for An Garda Síochána. Budget 2022 provides over €2 billion in funding to An Garda Síochána. Since 2016 the budget for An Garda Síochána has increased by approximately €500m, or 33%. These funds are providing for continued investment in the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, with ongoing expansion of the Bureau between this year and next, including the recruitment of 20 civilian expert posts at engineer grade.
As the Deputy will be aware, the allocation of funding for specific Garda projects is a matter for the Garda Commissioner, who under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, is responsible for the management and administration of the Garda organisation.
I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the expansion of the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) is a priority project under the A Policing Service for our Future programme. The aim of this project is to significantly enhance the capacity and capabilities of GNCCB to tackle cybercrime in this jurisdiction, including the establishment of six GNCCB Cyber Satellite hubs strategically located throughout the country. I understand that the roll out of the regional cybercrime units is ongoing and to date funding has been provided for four Regional Cybercrime Hubs established in Wexford, Mullingar, Cork and Galway. Planning is currently underway for the establishment of two additional GNCCB Cyber Satellite hubs.
The Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) is led by a Detective Chief Superintendent. As of 30 September there are 45 Garda members attached to GNCCB, which represents an almost 100% increase on the 23 Garda members attached to the Bureau at end December 2020.
I have been provided with the following below by the Garda authorities, detailing the total gross expenditure from the Garda Vote for the Garda Cyber Crime Unit in 2020 and from January to September 2021.

Year 2020 2021 (Jan-Sept)
Expenditure on Garda Cyber Crime Unit €2,555,161 €2,490,791