178. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the 2019 budget for Garda aircraft is only €1.050 million in view of the fact that the 2018 budget for the aircraft was €1.7 million; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22860/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 and investment of €46 million in the Garda fleet over the same period.
As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands.
I understand that the Garda Air Support Unit was established in 1997 and currently consists of 3 aircraft - one fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the original budget for Garda aircraft in 2018 was €1.05 million. This was increased to €1.7 million following the supplementary estimates, in order to meet the cost of specific maintenance requirements for the aircraft in 2018.
My Department will continue to engage with Garda management on an ongoing basis in relation to current and capital resource needs.