499. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding staffing at a Garda station (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20305/15]
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 for Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North Garda Division on 31 March 2015 the latest date for which figures are readily available was 668 of which 31 (28 Gardaí and three Sergeants) are assigned to Howth Garda Station. There are also 59 Garda Reserves and 42 Civilians attached to the Division.
Howth Garda station is open to the public from 7am to 9pm Monday to Sunday. It is important to remember that while the Garda station in question has reduced opening hours to the public, it will remain as a functioning Garda station on a 24 hour basis. Telephone calls to Howth Garda station outside of these hours are diverted to Raheny Garda station.
It must be stressed that the key objective of the reduced opening hours is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources. In this context the Commissioner has concluded that Garda resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the frontline if these particular stations no longer had to be staffed on a 24 hour basis. Currently there are no plans to alter these arrangements.
An Garda Síochána is responding to the incidence of burglary in the Dublin area through Operation Acer, which is in force throughout the Dublin Metropolitan Region. This includes a particular focus on identifying and targeting criminal groups involved in this criminality. Burglary Response Units attached to each Division take the lead in Operation Acer and are assisted by other units as required. In addition, a further and related operation, Operation Creeper, assists in the surveillance of Acer targets by monitoring their movements and this Operation has been tasked solely with targeting burglary suspects which has resulted in the successful arrests of Acer targets. These Operations are all coordinated under Operation Fiacla, which is the national operation targeting burglary using an intelligence and analysis-led approach.
Since Operation Acer commenced in early 2012, I am advised that there has been 5,389 arrests, 2,746 charges and 1,087 convictions for burglary in the Dublin area, up to 3 February 2015.