132. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which various cold cases continue to receive attention; if he remains satisfied with the adequacy of resources available in respect of such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42732/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will appreciate that the manner in which all Garda investigations are conducted, including cold cases, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team. As Minister, I have no role in this regard.
That said, I am informed that the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) continue to review serious cases that remain unsolved.
There are around ten ongoing SCRT reviews, including a number of high-profile outstanding homicide investigations, such as the Kerry Babies case, a missing persons case in Ashbourne Garda District and the murders of Dessie Fox (1990) and Paul Quinn (2007). The SCRT is also assisting in the investigation of the missing person case involving Deirdre Jacob, which has recently been re-classified as a murder. It is intended that a further review by the SCRT of other missing persons cases under Operation Trace will begin shortly, in order to identify and provide investigative assistance to the original investigation teams.
With regard to resourcing, the Deputy will appreciate that all Garda activities, including the investigation of unsolved cases, will benefit from the very significant investments which have been made in policing resources. Budget '19 will see an increase in the Garda budget from €1.65 billion to €1.76 billion, an increase of €110 million.
Furthermore, under the National Development Plan and the overall vision in Project Ireland 2040, the Garda capital allocation has increased from €61 million to €92 million in 2019, a 50% increase. This will facilitate investment of around €65 million in Garda ICT which is now an important element in the investigation of crime.
As reflected in the Programme for Government, the Government is also committed to supporting Garda recruitment through the accelerated recruitment programme with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 21,000 by 2021.