20. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the capital investment being made in Garda resources in counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49663/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that there has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. €1.65 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2018 and I am pleased to confirm also that €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019. This is an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.
In terms of capital investment, €342 million is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies and to deliver on reform. €46 million is being made available for investment in the Garda Fleet over the same period, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the fleet from 2013 to 2015. A further €60 million exchequer funding underpins the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme, which is a 5-year programme based on agreed Garda priorities benefiting over 30 locations around the country. This is in addition to the investment of approximately €100 million in development of 3 major new Divisional and Regional Headquarters which have been completed and entered into operation use in 2017 and 2018 at Galway, Wexford and Kevin Street, Dublin.
This significant current and capital investment in An Garda Síochána is in support of the Government’s commitment to ensure a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
It is a matter for the Commissioner to efficiently manage the resources at his disposal and to determine the allocation of resources across all Divisions, including Cavan/ Monaghan Division, in light of operational requirements. In that regard, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the distribution of resources is kept under continual review to ensure their optimum use.
Further and as the Deputy is aware, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Accordingly, the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW.
I am informed by the Garda authorities of a range of capital investment in the Cavan/Monaghan Division, as follows.
A new Garda station will be provided in Bailieborough, County Cavan in the context of the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021. I am informed that the relevant planning application was lodged in August 2018 and that the OPW is currently examining the submissions received in that regard. It is not possible to give a definitive date for completion of the construction of the new station.
I am informed that in advance of that new development, essential works at the existing Garda station in Bailieborough were completed in 2016, involving enhancements to the public office and safety improvements throughout the building.
In addition, the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to a pilot scheme to reopen 6 Garda stations to determine possible positive impacts that such openings will have on criminal activity, with special emphasis on burglaries, theft and public order. Bawnboy, County Cavan, is one of the 6 stations which will be reopened in the context of that pilot. I am informed that the OPW and An Garda Síochána are continuing to engage in relation to the works required to permit reopening of that station. I understand that implementation of the programme and reopening of all 6 stations is being pursued as a priority and the OPW expects works should be completed in each case in 2019.
Finally, I am advised by the Garda authorities that the strength of the Garda fleet in the Cavan/Monaghan Division was 55 vehicles as at 23 November 2018. I am informed that among the additional vehicles purchased for the Northern Region in 2018, 6 had been allocated to the Cavan/Monaghan Division as at 23 November 2018. I am further informed that an additional 3 unmarked cars will shortly be allocated to the Northern Region, one of which has been prioritised for allocation to Monaghan District by Garda management.