491. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on correspondence regarding a submission in respect of an association (details supplied) in County Kildare; the actions in place, or proposed or planned, to overcome the major concerns expressed; if the number of gardaí in the area in question has increased, or if it is proposed to increase such numbers; the number of squad cars, vans, or other Garda vehicles available in the area; the communication or personal links available to the association and the individual members of the association to link with Garda personnel in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20183/15]
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 however been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Kildare on 31 March 2015, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 299. There are also 40 Garda Reserves and 28 Civilians attached to Kildare Garda Division.
The Deputy will be aware that 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 brought 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 attested as members of the Garda Síochána on 23 April 2015 and the December intake will attest in Summer 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.
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 and five new probationer Gardaí have been assigned to the Kildare Garda Division. Similarly, investments are being made in vehicles and IT, and in the recruitment of specialist professional staff. Policing and community safety in Kildare will undoubtedly benefit from this injection of resources, as it will in all other Garda Divisions.
With regard to vehicles and communication links within the Kildare Division, the information requested by the Deputy is being processed and I will shortly write to the Deputy directly on this matter.