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Question

64. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the additional resources his Department is providing for An Garda Síochána to prepare for a hard Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42337/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is coordinating the whole-of-Government response to Brexit. In this capacity, he is working closely with all Ministers, including myself, to address in a joined up manner the many challenges Brexit will present. However, I do want to emphasise that it is this Government’s firm intention that the same border arrangements as currently apply on the island of Ireland will continue into the future. In its approach to the Brexit negotiations, the Government has ensured that protecting the gains of the Peace Process and the avoidance of a hard border is a high priority for Ireland, our partner Member States and the EU Commission.
An Garda Síochána operates within this policy framework and the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, and Garda management keep this under active review in line with operational and security demands, including any possible policing requirements post Brexit. A high level management team in An Garda Síochána has been established to prepare for any organisational challenges that may evolve in the context of Brexit and they are engaged on an on-going basis with my Department. I and senior officials from my Department met with the Garda Commissioner and his team to discuss Brexit contingency planning and I am assured that An Garda Síochána is preparing for Brexit with a wide-ranging focus to determine operational requirements, including personnel, infrastructure, training and technology and will continue to progress their contingency preparations. They are committed to ensuring the organisation is prepared for the associated policing implications and challenges arising therefrom.
I want to assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána has the full support of the Government in dealing with the implications of Brexit and will provide whatever resources are required to keep our people and our communities safe. This is clearly demonstrated by last week’s budget in which the Garda budget increased by €110 million from €1.65 billion to €1.76 billion in 2019. This will provide the Commissioner with the resources needed for the recruitment of up to 800 new Gardaí and for further civilianisation to fill critical skills gaps and enable the further redeployment of Gardaí to front line duties. Up to €95 million is available for the overtime budget of An Garda Síochána next year. 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, a further €10 million investment in the Transport Fleet and €17 million in the Building Programme.
Undoubtedly, the provision of these resources will support all Garda activities, enhance visibility within our communities and will enable the Commissioner to deploy additional resources to meet the challenges of Brexit, should he deem it necessary.