88. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the provision of a new Garda station for the Castletroy and Annacotty suburb of Limerick city will be considered (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45806/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána. This includes responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations, taking into account crime trends and policing priorities.
In that regard, I would recall that the Programme for a Partnership Government included a commitment for a review of Garda districts and dispersement of resources. The resulting report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate entitled “Policing with Local Communities”, was submitted to me as Minister by the Policing Authority and published in December 2018. That Inspectorate Report also finds that the responsibility for decisions on boundaries and dispersement of Garda resources – including the number, type and location of Garda stations - should rest with the Garda Commissioner, as is currently the case.
I consulted with the Garda authorities on the matter raised by the Deputy. I understand from the Garda authorities that Castletroy, the area referred to by the Deputy, is located on the N7 Limerick – Dublin road and that there are three existing Garda stations between 5 and 10 kilometres away, namely Henry Street Garda station, Roxboro Road Garda station and Castleconnell Garda station. I am further informed that a Garda Clinic is run on campus at the University of Limerick by Community Policing members based in the Henry Street District, to cater for student requirements and that this is currently held 3 times a month.
More generally, the Garda authorities inform me that crime in the Castletroy and Annacotty area is stable.
In these circumstances, the Deputy will appreciate that development of a new station in the location referred to by the Deputy is not proposed by Gardaí at the present time.
I would also point out that Garda numbers are increasing - we now have over 14,200 Garda members supported by over 2,800 Garda staff.
And the resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels. The allocation made to An Garda Síochána for 2019 of €1.76 billion. I am also pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.
Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. €10 million capital funding has been made for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation is being used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year. A further €9 million capital funding has been allocated for the Garda fleet in Budget 2020.
This continuing investment is intended to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive in all communities nationwide, including in the areas of Limerick referred to by the Deputy.