355. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of increasing the Garda Reserve by 50, 100 and 1,000 members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31305/19]
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, in addition to a capital allocation of € 92 million this year.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including arranging for the recruitment and training of personnel. Further, the allocation of Garda resources and distribution of personnel are a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands.
The Garda Reserve is an invaluable operational resource for An Garda Síochána with Reserve members working alongside Garda members to protect and serve their local communities. In line with commitments outlined under A Policing Service for the Future, a training class of approximately 100 Garda Reserves commenced training in the Garda College in March 2019. The strength of the Garda Reserve as of 31 May 2019, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 491.
I am advised that an allowance is payable to Reserve members who complete a minimum of 208 hours duty annually as a contribution towards expenses incurred in performing their duties. This allowance is currently set at €1,000 per annum. Reserves are also reimbursed for expenses incurred while attending court in respect of their service as a Reserve.
As such, I am advised by the Garda authorities that the estimated cost of increasing the Garda Reserve by 50 members is €50,000, by 100 members is €100,000 and by 1,000 members is €1,000,000.