45. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the need to provide additional staffing resources to the Border region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49658/18]
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.
The resourcing of each Garda division and Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed in the context of crime trends and policing priorities. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda Resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.
The Deputy will be aware that An Garda Síochána is currently undertaking a programme of accelerated recruitment, as part of the Government’s commitment to a strengthened service through the Five Year High Level Reform and Workforce Plan to achieve an overall workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, including 15,000 Garda members. To support the Commissioner in this recruitment, I have also secured funding in Budget 2019 which facilitates the recruitment of up to 800 more Gardaí next year. The Budget also provides for the necessary civilian Garda staff to fill critical skills gaps and enable the further redeployment of Gardaí to front line duties.
The Deputy will also be aware that there is close and ongoing cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI on all aspects of policing, with a particular focus on combatting security threats and cross-border crime. The Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI, who are responsible for operational policing cooperation, have repeatedly emphasised the value of this co-operation between the two police services in combating crime, protecting community safety and saving lives. The two police services operate a joint Cross-Border Policing Strategy which has as its aims to improve public safety throughout Ireland, to disrupt criminal activity and to enhance the policing capability of both police services on the island.
The Garda strength by Station and Rank for the Cavan/Monaghan Division, as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the link:
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link:
http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures. Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 36.