90. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Justice if budget 2022 provided for additional community gardaí in Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51091/21]
Deputy James Browne: Budget 2022 will see over €2.062 billion allocated to An Garda Síochána next year. This funding will include provision for the recruitment of 800 new Garda recruits and 400 Garda staff. 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.
In Dublin, through sustained Government investment in An Garda Síochána, the number of gardaí across all divisions in the Dublin metropolitan region, DMR, has increased by approximately 5.5% since 2018, while the number of gardaí designated as community gardaí in the DMR has increased by approximately 11% since 2018, bringing the total to 326 Garda members. This additional investment, in Dublin and throughout Ireland, is in line with the Government's commitment to ensuring that people feel safe in their communities.
Community policing is at the heart of the work of An Garda Síochána and all gardaí have a role to play in community policing in the course of carrying out their duties. The official categorisation as a community garda has referred to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society, including by giving talks to schools, community groups and others.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the general management and administration of the Garda organisation under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. It is proper that I, as Minister of State, have no role in these independent functions. I am assured that Garda management keeps the distribution of Garda members throughout the State under continual review in the context of policing priorities and crime trends, to ensure An Garda Síochána is optimally positioned to keep our communities safe. I understand it is a matter for each divisional chief superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her, having regard to the profile of each area within the division and its specific needs.