115. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which she expects to continue to avail of extra Garda numbers arising from the new recruitment programme with a view to ensuring increased strength in Garda stations that have experienced a reduction in Garda numbers in the course of the past number of years and with particular reference to demographic requirements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19511/15]
Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: As the Deputy is aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda regions, divisions, and districts. This is kept under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner has taken a number of decisions relating to distribution and where the new recruits will be placed on the basis of looking at the needs of particular areas and crime trends. It is a completely objective and operational decision. For the first time since 2009, new recruits are entering the Garda College in Templemore. 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 has brought to 300 the number of recruits in the Garda College with a further intake later this year. 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. New gardaí will be assigned by the Garda Commissioner to Garda stations throughout the country.
It is the Government's intention that there will be ongoing seamless recruitment to the force because it is essential. However, it is not just a question of Garda numbers. The Government is also committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána has appropriate technical and other resources. The Deputy will be aware that for the first time, I have initiated a review of the ICT needs of An Garda Síochána. A committee is close to producing its final report on identifying the ICT needs of An Garda Síochána. This will also lead to a more efficient and effective force. We are committed to meeting the ICT requirements of An Garda Síochána. This is the first comprehensive examination. We expect to have a plan in place that will identify needs in the short, medium and longer term.