654. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which juvenile liaison officers have been allocated to each Garda district throughout the country; the ongoing plans in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7144/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible, by law, for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. The allocation of Garda resources is made in light of identified operational demand, and this includes deployment of personnel among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in these operational decisions.
I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers (JLOs) are specially trained to fulfil a key role in implementing the Garda Diversion Programme. Their role includes the administration of formal and informal cautions as well as appropriate supervision of children who have been admitted to the Diversion Programme, as provided in Part 4 of the Children Act 2001.
I am further informed by the Garda Commissioner that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available in the format requested, as JLOs are assigned on a Garda Divisional basis. Accordingly, for the Deputy's information, the attached table provided by the Garda Commissioner contains the appropriate statistics on a Divisional basis as at 31 December 2020, the latest date for which figures are currently available.
An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, Garda numbers are now over 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide. Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff .
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