Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
1281. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans regarding the redevelopment of the Garda station in east County Meath; if a new Garda station has been discussed to deal with the large increase in population in east County Meath in recent times; her further plans to increase the number of Garda patrol cars in the east County Meath area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15721/21]
As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. I am assured however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
Further, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Works in relation to Garda accommodation are therefore progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW.
The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is based on agreed Garda priorities. It continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW Votes.
I understand from supplementary information provided by the Deputy that he refers in particular to Laytown. The Building and Refurbishment Programme does not include building works at Laytown Garda Station and I am informed by the Garda authorities that no works are ongoing or are planned for that station at this time.
That being said, there has been a significant increase in Garda resources in Meath in recent years. I am informed by the Garda authorities that as of the end of February 2021, the latest date for which figures are available, a total of 332 Garda members were assigned to the Meath Division, in addition to 44 Garda staff. By contrast, in December 2015 there were a total of 277 Garda members and 26 Garda staff in the Division. These figures represent increases of 20% and 69% respectively.
As the Deputy is aware, Laytown Garda station is located in the Ashbourne District. At 22 March 2021 there were 28 vehicles assigned to Ashbourne District.
A detailed breakdown of Garda numbers by Division, District and Station is available on my Department’s website, in the interests of transparency and for the convenience of Deputies and the wider public. This information is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána. The Information on Garda members requested may be accessed at the following link:
The Deputy may also be interested to know that the roll out by the Garda Commissioner of the new Garda Operating Model meets a key commitment in A Policing Service for our Future, the four-year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. This model has been long recommended by independent policing specialists, including the Garda Síochána Inspectorate and, while new to Ireland, it is the standard in other countries. The new Operating Model is designed to provide a more responsive, localised policing service to communities and it streamlines Garda administration and re-organises resources in order to do so.
Meath Division is one of the Divisions piloting the new Operating Model. I am confident that adoption by the Commissioner of this new structure will lead to an improved policing service in Meath as well as in other communities nationwide.