138. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Justice if she will provide details of the Garda budget for 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51629/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The budget provided by Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.952 billion for 2021. Budget 2022 provides over €2 billion in funding to An Garda Síochána. Since 2016 the budget for An Garda Síochána has increased by approximately €500m, or 33%. This has enabled 1,400 extra Gardaí to be deployed, as well as continued investment in modern equipment. In addition, we have freed up 800 Gardaí for front line policing work through the recruitment of Garda staff. 
As the Deputy may be aware, Covid-19 restrictions on the Garda Training College in Templemore constrained recruitment and training for periods over the last 18 months. However, I am glad to confirm that 450 Gardaí will be recruited this year and the funding provided for next year fully supports the sustained recruitment of Garda members and staff.
In particular, the funding announced last week includes provision for the recruitment of 800 new Garda recruits and 400 Garda staff in 2022 - an additional 1,200 personnel. The number of new recruits and new Garda staff envisaged means that we are on track to meet the Government’s target of 15,000 sworn members of An Garda Síochána and 4,000 Garda staff as we approach the centenary of An Garda Síochána’s establishment.
This increase in the number of Garda members and staff will deliver significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide and improved services to the public generally. Redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and support roles will also continue next year, thus allowing highly trained Gardaí to focus on frontline policing duties.  The organisation's capacity will be further strengthened by the recruitment of additional Garda staff, including to specialist roles to support the investigation of crime and enhance the management of the organisation .
Budget 2022 provides an additional €10.5 million for Garda operational expenditure – including provision for new mobile devices, equipment for a range of Garda specialist units and on-going training in relation to priority areas such as tackling sexual, domestic and gender based violence. It also includes a specific once–off allocation of €1.5 million to mark the centenary of An Garda Síochána in 2022.
Budget 2022 also includes provision for a capital budget of €147 million for An Garda Síochána’s ICT and Building Programme and ongoing investment in the organisation’s transport fleet. An Garda Síochána, recognising the need to be visible and accessible in communities but also conscious of taking proactive actions to reduce their carbon footprint, will purchase an additional 100 mountain bikes and increased numbers of Electrical Vehicles as part of an overall fleet management strategy.
The budget will also ensure continuing investment in the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, with ongoing expansion of the Bureau between this year and next, including the recruitment of 20 civilian expert posts at engineer grade.