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Question

98. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding Garda Síochána numbers in Dublin 12; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44339/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including new probationer Gardaí, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of resources.
This Government is committed to the ongoing recruitment of trainee Gardaí, and to this end the first intake since 2009 of new recruits commenced training at the Garda College, Templemore, in September of last year. To date there have been six intakes of Garda Trainees to the Garda College, giving a total intake of 550. So far 295 of the new Garda Trainees have attested as members of An Garda Síochána. On attestation, new probationer Gardaí are assigned to stations throughout the country by the Garda Commissioner, where they are assigned to mainstream uniform policing duties. I am assured by Garda management that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of new probationer Gardaí. I have been inform that this year 19 new Probationer Gardaí were allocated to the DMR South Division, 4 and 5 of which have been assigned to Crumlin and Sundrive Road Garda Stations respectively.
The Deputy will be aware that I announced the opening of a recruitment campaign for new members of An Garda Síochána on 27 November last. This new campaign is necessary to fulfil the Government’s commitment to recruit 600 Gardaí in 2016. The 600 new Gardaí to be recruited next year will bring to 1,150 the total number of new recruits since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. This ramped-up recruitment underscores the determination of this Government to deliver an effective, responsive police service to protect our communities and respond to emerging crime trends. The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is organising the recruitment competition on behalf of the Garda Commissioner and applications may be made through the PAS website at www.publicjobs.ie . The closing date for applications is Tuesday 5 January 2016.
A key part of An Garda Síochána strategy in the fight against crime is to work in partnership with the community. As of 31 October the latest date for which figures are available there were 53 dedicated Community Gardaí working in the DMR South Division. It is, of course, the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in addressing community policing issues as and when the need arises. In that sense, community policing involves far more than a single unit within An Garda Síochána, a point highlighted by the Garda Inspectorate in their third report entitled "Policing in Ireland—Looking Forward" in which they stated that community policing is a fundamental policing philosophy and that there is a strong foundation for it in Ireland. An Garda Síochána operates a model of Community Policing which aims to build upon, and enhance, progress made so far. I fully support this renewed emphasis on Community Policing, particularly in light of the priority given to this in the Programme for Government. The model is about renewing, reinvigorating and restructuring the community policing function within An Garda Síochána to deliver a consistent national structure to the community policing function, a more co-ordinated and efficient Garda service to the community and a spread of good practice and quality of service in community policing on a national basis.