Check Against Delivery

Senator Michael D’Arcy
To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence to outline the rationale in downgrading the Garda Station in Gorey with the merging of the Gorey district with Enniscorthy district.

Reply by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD,
Thursday 31 January 2013

Cathaoirleach,


I would like to thank Senator D’Arcy for raising this important issue.

The Senator will be aware that proposals to alter Garda Districts are a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda Commissioner, in accordance with the provisions of the Garda Síochána Acts. 

The Garda Annual Policing Plan for 2013, which was laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas in December 2012, set out the Commissioner's proposals in relation to changes within a number of Garda Divisions.  These changes included the proposals to merge 28 Garda Districts into 14 expanded Districts, including the merger of the Gorey Garda District with the Enniscorthy District within the Wexford Division.

The Commissioner’s priority in introducing the changes in the 2013 Policing Plan is to ensure the continued delivery of an effective policing service throughout the country and ensure that Garda resources are deployed to meet the existing and projected policing requirements within all Divisions in 2013, including the Wexford Division.

The amalgamation of Garda Districts into larger Districts, as outlined in the 2013 Policing Plan, will allow for the more flexible deployment of resources and provide improved economies of scale in terms of administration.

The Garda Commissioner has stated that, whilst the revised structures will further enhance operational capacity, they will also continue to support the Garda community policing philosophy. The objective will be to ensure that the best possible policing service will continue to be provided to our communities.

In that context, I was delighted to launch, earlier today, the Garda "Community Crime Prevention Programmes" booklet and to acknowledge the very valuable work done by all of those involved in Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch Schemes throughout our country. Members of An Garda Síochána work closely with all communities to enhance community safety through a wide range of local fora, including Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch. As Minister, I will continue to do everything I can to support the Garda Commissioner in maintaining the strong Garda connection with the Community and to ensure that to the maximum extent possible resources will continue to be made available to An Garda Síochána.

The proposed change within the Wexford Division is aimed at freeing up Gardaí from behind the desk, so they are out and about in our communities engaging in frontline policing – preventing, detecting and disrupting crime. It is about maximising the time that our well-trained and highly skilled Gardaí spend on operational duties. This requires that available resources are deployed in the most efficient manner to provide for increased Garda visibility and improved Garda mobility. 

In the context of the reconfiguration of Garda Districts and the consolidation of Garda Stations nationally it is important to emphasise that the measures being implemented are not a cost cutting measure.  As result of these new arrangements an extra 61,000 Garda patrol hours will be available in 2013.  Despite the cuts in last year's budget, I managed to make available some €4 million that enabled the purchase of 213 new Garda vehicles in 2012. I have also secured dedicated funding of €5 million for the purchase of a significant number of new vehicles in 2013.   I reiterate, this is about ensuring that the budget of over €1.4 Billion  allocated to An Garda Siochana is used  effectively and efficiently to provide the best possible policing service for the benefit of the people of this State.  

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the commitment provided by every member of the Force and I want to express my gratitude to them, on behalf of all of our citizens, for the excellent service which they provide. I am confident that the changes outlined in the Garda Policing Plan 2013 will enable that level of service to continue.

In closing, I want to once again express my deep sadness at the brutal murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe who was laid to rest yesterday. May he rest in peace. 

ends