147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which An Garda Síochána is adequately equipped, resourced and strengthened to deal with organised criminal gangs, who appear to have achieved a degree of professionalism derived from study of their predecessors and are currently inflicting a new reign of terror throughout their respective communities, including ongoing threats to An Garda Síochána; the preventative and combative action she proposes to take to ensure that An Garda Síochána is as adequately equipped and resourced as possible to deal with these ongoing threats; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19510/15]
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 An Garda Síochána on 31 March 2015 the latest date for which figures are readily available, is 12,734. There are also 1,079 Garda Reserves and around 2,000 Civilians attached to An Garda Síochána.
I can also inform the Deputy that, thanks to the resumption of Garda recruitment, the Commissioner now has the capacity to deploy new Gardaí for the first time since 2009. Similarly, investments are being made in vehicles and IT, and in the recruitment of specialist professional staff. Policing and community safety in all areas will undoubtedly benefit from this injection of resources.
I am, of course, aware of the issues referred to concerning threats made against members of the Garda Síochána, which I utterly condemn.
As the Deputy is aware, it would not be appropriate for me to detail the operational measures that the Garda authorities have taken or would take generally in these situations. However, I can assure the Deputy that whatever protective and detection measures are deemed appropriate by the Garda authorities will certainly be taken. I should also say that while the criminal law in this area is being kept under ongoing review, there is a range of robust legislative provisions available to the Garda authorities in circumstances where threats or assaults are made against Gardaí.