177. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €92,340,000 capital allocation in An Garda Síochána within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 20 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44525/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and as such is responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources at his disposal. Those resources have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2018 of more than €1.6 billion. And I can confirm that €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, which represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.
The 2019 allocation includes a capital provision of some €92 million, which represents an increase of over €30 million as compared to 2018. The provision will facilitate investment of €65 million in Garda ICT, a further €10 million investment in the Garda fleet and an investment of €17 million in the Garda estate. This capital investment is a key enabler in the reform programme and will be one of the main pillars on which the future of policing will be built.
It is a matter for the Garda Commissioner to determine how the resources at his disposal can best be deployed. I understand that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use.
In terms of ICT investment, the provision of €65 million will enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community and deliver on reform. I understand from the Garda authorities that the specific list of projects to be undertaken in 2019 has yet to be finalised and as such it is not possible to provide a list of specific projects at this time.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the budget of €10 million available for the purchase and fit out of Garda vehicles in 2019 will enable the replacement of vehicles reaching end of life or beyond economic repair. While the funds made available are expected to enable increase in the size of the fleet, I am informed that the number of additional vehicles and the mix of types and the fit-out required will be determined by the Commissioner in accordance with operational priorities. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official Garda vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between districts and stations as required by operational requirements.
In relation to the Garda estate, the Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that the €17 million allocated to the Garda estate will support a number of projects including commencement of works on the new Garda facility at Military Road to replace Harcourt Square, the refurbishment of the Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station (on which works have commenced in 2018), as well as supporting the continued progress in delivery of the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021, which is benefiting over 30 locations nationwide based on Garda priorities.