312. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding is available in 2019 to purchase extra Garda prisoner transport vehicles; if so, when the vehicles will come into the fleet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23272/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. 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. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime. A total of €10 million is available in 2019 for purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles.
As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure their optimum use.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that 3 prisoner transport vehicles have been allocated to the fleet this year, bringing the total number of prisoner transport vehicles to 17.
The Garda authorities have informed me that there are no plans to allocate any further vehicles to this duty at this time.