124. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number and rank of members of An Garda Síochána presently based in Blackrock, County Louth; her plans to reduce the present number of gardaí, from one sergeant and four gardaí, to one sergeant and one garda, despite a huge increase in the population based there; her views on the letter (details supplied) received from Blackrock Tidy Towns expressing its deep concerns; if the local superintendent will meet with a deputation from the residents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16171/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Louth Garda Division as of 28 February 2015, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 279 of which there were 3 Garda and 1 Garda Sergeant assigned to Blackrock Garda Station. There are also 46 Garda Reserves and 22 civilians attached to the Louth Garda Division.
The first intake since 2009 of 100 new recruits entered training at the Garda College, Templemore, on 15 September 2014. As part of Budget 2015, a further intake of 200 recruits in two batches was announced. On 15 December 2014, the first 100 of these batches commenced their training. The remaining 100 entered the college in early February. This will bring to 300 the number of recruits in the Garda College and is a measure of the Government's commitment to ensure that recruitment to An Garda Síochána continues seamlessly. The September intake will attest as members of the Garda Síochána in May 2015 and the December intake will attest in August 2015. In addition, I have received sanction from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for two further intakes of 125 Garda recruits later this year. On attestation they will be assigned to Garda stations throughout the country by the Garda Commissioner and the needs of Louth Garda Division will be fully considered.
I understand that the Superintendent in Dundalk has no difficulty meeting with a deputation from the residents of Blackrock. Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 111.