220. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which the optimum number of Garda Síochána stations remains under review; whether the need for any change has been identified; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35740/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations is a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda Commissioner in the context of annual policing plans, as provided for in section 22 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
The Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was implemented in An Garda Síochána during 2012 and 2013. The primary objective of the programme was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. In its review of the Garda Station Network that informed the rationalisation programme, Garda management concluded in relation to certain stations that Garda resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if those stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained. In reaching these conclusions, Garda management reviewed all aspects of An Garda Síochána's policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations.
I am advised by the Garda management that they regularly review and assesses the capabilities and the deployment of Garda resources to provide a policing service that meets the needs of the community.
While the Policing Plan for 2016 has not yet been prepared, I understand that it is unlikely at this time that there will be any further station closures in 2016.