More Garda Resources needed for Border Region – Brendan Smith TD

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I have continually highlighted to the Justice Minister in Dáil Éireann the urgent need to provide additional Garda resources for the border region.

There are unique policing demands on the Gardaí in areas such as the Cavan/Monaghan Division due to the long land border we have with a neighbouring jurisdiction.  For the past number of years there has been a reduced number of personnel and inadequate resources in general to provide the necessary level of policing.

Unfortunately organised cross border criminal gangs have been to the forefront in smuggling and other illicit trading activities.  Similarily in recent years more and more families and communities are suffering from the widespread scourge of drugs.  Gardaí must be properly resourced to deal with these serious problems.

Below replies by the Justice Minister to my Questions in Dáil Éireann –

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For Written Answer on : 22/01/2019
Question Number(s): 262,261 Question Reference(s): 2836/19, 2835/19
Department: Justice and Equality
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
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QUESTION

* To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the need to provide additional staffing and financial resources to the Border region in 2019, in view of the unique policing needs of a border area and the concerns regarding cross-Border criminal activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22 January, 2019.

* To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the need to provide additional staffing resources to the Border region in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22 January, 2019.

REPLY
Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. This accelerated recruitment of Gardaí saw Garda numbers reach just over 14,000 by the end of 2018. Furthermore, a total budget of €1.76 billion has been provided to An Garda Síochána in 2019, an increase of over €100 million on the 2018 allocation. This substantial investment will provide new and leading edge technology to support our front line Gardaí in carrying out their work and increasing visibility in both rural and urban communities.

The Garda Commissioner has informed me that it is his intention to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 along with a net 600 Garda Staff (civilians).  The recruitment of these additional Garda staff will allow the Commissioner to redeploy this year a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to the frontline duties for which they are trained. I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí  to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions, including those located alongside or close to the Border.

 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 scope and the value of the close and high quality cooperation 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.

 

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