85. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Justice the rank and file of the positions that remain unfilled in County Louth within An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51720/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the distribution and management of Garda resources between the various Garda Divisions. Neither I nor the Minister for Justice have any direct role in these matters, but we are assured that the Garda authorities keep this distribution under constant review, to ensure the optimum use of available Garda members.
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. This significant investment by the government has allowed for sustained and ongoing investment into An Garda Siochana and into recruitment of new Gardai, including in Louth.  
I am advised by the Garda authorities that as of 30 September 2021, there were 396 Garda members assigned to Louth Division. This represents an increase of 2% since the same time last year, when there were 389 members assigned to the Division, and over 30% since December 2016.   The breakdown by rank of the current total is 1 Chief Superintendent, 2 Superintendents, 10 Inspectors, 46 Sergeants and 337 Gardaí.
These Garda members are assisted by 41 Garda staff, which is an almost 80% increase compared to 2016, when there 23 Garda staff assigned.
I am further advised by the Garda authorities that local Garda management in the Louth Division intend to fill a number of positions in the Division at sergeant rank. It is intended that these positions will be filled through a competition for promotions and appointments to the rank of sergeant which is currently underway. Questions Nos. 86 to 93, inclusive, answered orally.