Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Question 410: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the strength of the Garda force at Skibbereen Garda station; the number of hours per week that the station is opened; and if there are proposals to upgrade the Garda station in question by way of additional members or opening hours. [12917/06]
I have been informed by the Garda authorities, which are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the personnel strength, all ranks, of the Garda Síochána as at 31 December 1997 and 20 March 2006 was 10,702 and 12,445, respectively. This represents an increase of 1,743, 16.3%, in the personnel strength of the Garda Síochána during that period.
I have been further informed that the personnel strength of Skibbereen Garda station as at 31 March 2006 was ten, all ranks. Garda management reports that Skibbereen Garda station is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday. At present, Skibereen Garda station is closed on Sundays. However Garda management states that it is proposed to open Skibbereen Garda Station from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays during the summer months. Garda management further states that it will continue to appraise the policing and administrative strategy employed in the Cork west division with a view to ensuring that an effective Garda service is maintained. The division's resources are further augmented by a number of Garda national units such as the Garda National Immigration Bureau, GNIB, the Criminal Assets Bureau, CAB, and other specialised units.
It is the responsibility of Garda management to allocate personnel throughout and within divisions on a priority basis in accordance with the requirements of different areas. The allocation of such resources is determined by a number of factors including demographics, administrative functions, crime trends and other operational policing needs.
The timescale for achieving the target strength of 14,000 members of the Garda Síochána in line with the commitment in An Agreed Programme for Government remains as when I announced the Government approval in October 2004 for my proposals to achieve this objective. The phased increase in the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 will lead to a combined strength, of both attested gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,000 by the end of this year. This project is fully on target and will be achieved.
As part of the accelerated recruitment campaign to facilitate this record expansion, 1,125 garda recruits were inducted to the Garda college during 2005. The college will induct a further 1,100 recruits this year and again in 2007, by way of intakes to the Garda college of approximately 275 recruits every quarter. The first incremental increase of newly attested gardaí under the programme of accelerated recruitment took place on 15 March 2006. The Garda Commissioner will now be drawing up plans on how best to distribute and manage these additional resources, and in this context the needs ofSkibbereen Garda station will be fully considered within the overall context of the needs of Garda stations throughout the country.