308. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to restore the Garda traffic corps to its full operational size in view of the continuing increase in crashes and loss of life and injuries. [3731/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including community Gardaí, 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 the Garda Traffic Corps on 30 November 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 763. As roads policing is the duty of every Garda member, this duty is not reserved for Garda members of the Traffic Corps. Similarly, members of the Traffic Corps are required to engage in the core activity of An Garda Síochána concerning the prevention and detection of crime.
An Garda Síochána carried out 57,326 MAT checkpoints in 2010 and 76,881 in 2014.
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 with the remaining 100 to enter the college in February 2015. This will bring 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 will attest as members of the Garda Síochána in May 2015. On attestation they will be assigned to Garda stations throughout the country by the Garda Commissioner and the needs of the Garda Traffic Corps will be considered within the overall context of the needs of Garda Stations and Units throughout the country.