35. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which he expects An Garda Síochána to be in a position to respond rapidly to the activities of criminal gangs roaming throughout the country particularly in the run up to Christmas; if he remains satisfied regarding the adequacy of the resources to deal with issues arising; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42371/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of An Garda Síochána are deployed, including Garda personnel, is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard. However, to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have requested a report from An Garda Síochána regarding any additional measures being taken by Gardaí in the run up to Christmas. I will contact the Deputy directly when this report is to hand.
Investing in the capacity of An Garda Síochána to tackle criminals and enforce the law effectively is a key objective of the Government's response to serious crime.
The Deputy will be aware that the Government has dedicated very significant resources to support An Garda Síochána in tackling the activities of criminal gangs, including mobile criminal gangs, that seek to target our communities. Indeed, 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 ICT which is now an important element of the fight against crime – this substantial investment will provide new and leading edge technology to support our front line Gardaí in their daily work. The Budget also provides for a further €10 million investment in the Transport Fleet and €17 million in the Garda Building Programme. This capital investment is a key enabler in the reform programme and will be one of the main pillars on which the future of policing will be built.
Under the Programme for Government there is a commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. This is underpinned by the Government’s commitment to continue the ongoing accelerated Garda recruitment programme with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 21,000 by 2021.
I can assure the Deputy that the Government remains committed to ensuring An Garda Síochána have all the necessary resources to tackle all forms of criminality that affects our communities. Questions Nos. 36 and 37 answered with Question No. 25.