321. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the concerns of the community in Kilnamanagh in Tallaght, in Dublin 24 regarding the recent increase in crime there; on the efforts of the local neighbourhood watch scheme in dealing with matters in conjunction with An Garda Síochána; her plans to provide resources to the Garda Síochána station in Tallaght to allow for effective action to be taken in respect of these matters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40232/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána places great emphasis on the importance of the partnership between An Garda Síochána and the community in preventing and detecting crime, and maintaining a safe environment for everyone, including through engagement with Neighbourhood Watch and other local groups.
As the Deputy will appreciate the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of resources. Tallaght Garda District forms part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region South and of the 541 Garda assigned to the Division, 175 are assigned to Tallaght Garda station. The work of these Gardaí in Tallaght is supported by 9 Garda Reserves and 10 civilians.
The resumption of Garda recruitment and the deployment of newly attested Gardaí are of course key components in providing visible policing in the Tallaght area and elsewhere. I am assured by Garda management that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of newly attested Gardaí and in this regard I am informed that five of the Probationer Gardaí attested to date have been assigned to Tallaght.
The increased budget allocation for An Garda Síochána in 2016 which I recently announced, provides for the recruitment of 600 new Gardaí in addition to the 550 that will be recruited by year end. This will bring the total number of trainee Gardaí recruited since September 2014 to 1,150 by the end of 2016. The ongoing recruitment of new Gardaí is crucial to An Garda Síochána and for the safety of communities throughout the State. This ramped-up recruitment underscores the determination of this Government to deliver an effective, responsive police service to protect our communities and respond to emerging crime trends.
This Government has also invested over €34 million in new Garda vehicles since 2012 with over 640 new vehicles coming on stream in 2015, ranging from more Garda patrol cars to high-powered vehicles for armed units. This will ensure Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive, on the roads and in the community. We are also investing in airborne surveillance and enhanced technology and ICT systems.
Operation Thor, a new multi-strand national anti-crime and anti-burglary operation which was launched by the Garda Commissioner earlier this week will make full use of this continuing investment. Operation Thor, which has been in planning for several months, builds on previous and current Garda operations and entails a broad range of activities to tackle crime, particularly burglaries in both urban and rural communities nationwide. A further allocation of in excess of €5 million has been committed to Operation Thor. This allocation, which includes funding for Garda overtime will support a combination of additional patrols, checkpoints, rapid armed response and public awareness measures. I am confident that the totality of the Government's investment will ensure that An Garda Síochána has the capacity to provide effective policing services in the Tallaght area, as elsewhere throughout the country.