144. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to re-open any of the Garda stations that closed under the current Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24134/15]
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.
An Garda Síochána completed a comprehensive review of its district and station network in 2012 and 2013. The objective was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. The review concluded that a revised district and station network commensurate with the organisation resource base would best meet public demand.
The Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme provides for effectiveness and efficiencies through a programme of restructuring and reconfiguration of the service delivery methods, concomitant with changes to work practices within the new rostering arrangements already introduced. In addition, I am advised by the Garda authorities that the closure of these Garda Stations has resulted in an additional 61,000 patrolling hours being made available to the communities right across the country.
The deployment of resources is kept under review at all times by the Garda Commissioner to ensure that Garda resources continue to be used in the most efficient and appropriate way possible to target criminal activity at the local and national level.