274. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which she anticipates an increase in the strength of An Garda Síochána to directly benefit all regions throughout Ireland without exception; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51937/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I am pleased that Budget 2022 reflects the commitment of the Government to ensuring our communities are safe and that An Garda Síochána has the resources to be an effective and trusted policing service.
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. Since 2016 the budget for An Garda Síochána has increased by €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. 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 .
Each Garda Division will of course have its own particular requirements in terms of crime trends and other community policing needs. The response to these needs and the deployment or resources is a strictly operational matter for the Garda authorities, in consultation with local Garda management and in view of the resources available. As the Deputy will appreciate, I have no direct role in such matters.
I am assured by the Garda authorities however that the distribution of resources among the various Garda Divisions across the State is kept under constant review, in light of emerging crime trends and operational needs.