171. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the work of the Garda Racial Intercultural and Diversity Office; the number of staff assigned to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22756/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
I am informed by the Commissioner that the Garda National Diversity and Integration Unit (GNDIU), formerly known as Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office (GRIDO) was established in April 2000. The GNDIU has responsibility for co-coordinating, monitoring and advising on all aspects of policing in the area of ethnic and cultural diversity. The unit leads on Garda policies, strategies, initiatives and training in respect of diversity, equality, integration and hate crime. The unit also liaises extensively with national and international stakeholders in the area of diversity, equality and integration to develop best policing practice that meets the policing needs of persons from diverse, minority and marginalised communities and groups. It is the conduit between An Garda Síochána and new communities who now reside in Ireland, representative groups and civil society organisations.
In addition to the Unit itself, there is a network of approximately 260 Ethnic Liaison Officers (ELOs) who are trained to engage positively with persons from diverse backgrounds and communities in the twenty-eight Garda Divisions across the State under the auspices of Community Policing.
A Garda Superintendent and a Garda Inspector currently directly supervise GNDIU. In addition, the Unit is assigned two Sergeants, a Garda and two administrative Garda Staff. One of the Sergeant positions is currently vacant due to promotion and transfer of a Sergeant.