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Question

307. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the significant fall in the number of Garda checkpoints and the number of breath tests from 2008 to 2014; and, in view of the ongoing increase in crash fatalities and injuries, if she will commit more resources to An Garda Síochána for this function. [3730/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will appreciate that I have no direct role in operational road traffic enforcement which is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. I can, however, assure the Deputy that one of An Garda Síochána's strategic objectives is to provide a safe environment for all road users and enforcement remains high and determined throughout the country. I am informed that while the number of MAT checkpoints in 2014 is marginally down on 2013 it is higher than the number of such checkpoints conducted in each of the years from 2008 to 2012.
Insofar as the question of Garda resources is concerned, I can assure the Deputy that I have sought to secure as high a level of resources for the Garda authorities as possible and am fully committed to supporting them in providing a strong and visible community presence across the country, including with respect to road safety enforcement. I am pleased that the recent increase of €40 million in the Budget for Garda pay in 2015 has provided the scope for me to continue with my priority objective of recruiting new Gardaí. The Deputy may be aware that the first intake of Garda Trainees since 2009 to the Garda College took place in 2014. In September 100 recruits commenced training and a further 100 in December. I also recently announced that intakes will continue into 2015, with 100 planned for February and I will, of course, continue to monitor Garda staffing levels this year with a view to agreeing further intakes to the Garda College as required.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the deployment of resources and distribution of personnel is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and the allocation of Gardaí on completion of training will be kept under review and fully considered within the overall requirements of An Garda Síochána nationally.
It is also the case that the comprehensive package of Budget increases for the Justice Sector announced in November includes €10m to support the purchase, and fit-out, of 400 new Garda vehicles. This investment demonstrates the Government's commitment to ensuring the ongoing provision of a modern and efficient Garda fleet. There will be a particular focus on an increased provision of marked Garda vehicles to provide an enhanced visible policing presence in both rural and urban communities, and to support all policing functions including those relating to road safety.