9. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will consider putting in place funding for the provision and upgrading of closed-circuit television systems, with dedicated monitoring staff, to assist with policing for towns and villages throughout the country, which have experienced a reduction in Garda numbers and-or where Garda stations have closed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6967/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access, such as town centres, fall into two distinct categories: Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems.
Garda CCTV systems are planned and implemented on the basis of An Garda Síochána's identified operational needs and priorities. Accordingly, decisions in relation to the introduction or extension of such systems are a matter for the Garda Commissioner. I am advised by the Garda authorities that current Garda CCTV arrangements are kept under ongoing review in the context of An Garda Síochána's operational requirements.
As regards community-based CCTV, a scheme was launched in 2005 which provided financial assistance to qualifying local organisations towards meeting the capital costs associated with the establishment of a local community CCTV system. Two rounds of funding were advertised under that Scheme, most recently in 2007. All of the available funding provided under the previous two rounds was fully allocated. There are currently no plans to further extend the Scheme, but of course the issue will be kept under review in the context of the availability of funding and competing priorities.
The Deputy will be aware that the decision to close a number of Garda stations in 2013 was the result of a comprehensive operational assessment carried out by the Garda Commissioner, the objective of which was to ensure that Garda resources are used in the best and most efficient way possible. In particular, freeing up Gardaí from desk duties has increased the number of Gardaí available for frontline policing and confronting crime. More generally, in relation to Garda numbers, the Deputy will be aware that for the first time since May 2009 there are now 300 Garda recruits in training in Templemore. Questions Nos. 10 and 11 answered orally.