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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 172 - 180
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Garda Vetting Application Numbers
 Header Item Crime Prevention
 Header Item Deed Poll
 Header Item Garda Transport Data
 Header Item Garda Transport Data
 Header Item Garda Transport Data
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Garda Transport Data

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 815 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 76 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 172 - 180

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 172. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will expedite Garda clearance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41656/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that a vetting application on behalf of the individual referred to by the Deputy was received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) on 23 September 2013. The application is currently being processed and once completed will be returned to the registered organisation concerned.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is approximately 9 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. In the interest of fairness and equity, Garda vetting applications are processed in chronological order based on the date of receipt in the GCVU and all organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time-frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

Garda Vetting Application Numbers

 173. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the measures he is taking to alleviate the backlog of persons seeking Garda clearance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41657/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter By way of background to the Deputy's question, I wish to advise that the number of vetting applications received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) each year has risen from 187,864 in 2007 to 327,903 in 2012 and it is expected that there will be upwards of 350,000 applications this year.

It is essential that the GCVU has the resources required to perform this most critical of roles effectively and I have given this matter particular priority. In that regard I have been actively engaged with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. As a result of that engagement, I am pleased to say that the Commissioner has confirmed to me that there are now 134 whole-time equivalent staff (130 civilians and 4 members of the Garda Síochána) assigned to the GCVU, some 41 of whom have been redeployed from elsewhere in the public service since the end of March 2013. Some of these redeployed staff have only recently completed their training in the vetting process, and the full impact of their work will be seen in the coming weeks. Furthermore, I have also recently received sanction for the redeployment of 40 additional staff to the GCVU. This brings the total number of staff in that service to over 170 which, when compared to the average staff allocation of 78 at the Unit over the past two and a half years, represents an increase of 117%.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is now approximately 9 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. Nevertheless this is a significant improvement on the processing time of 14 weeks which existed in July this year. In the interest of fairness and equity, Garda vetting applications are processed in chronological order based on the date of receipt in the GCVU and all organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time-frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

Development of an e-Vetting solution is also underway. This will facilitate the processing of all applications in an e-format, thus removing the time-consuming current process of manually managing all applications received. The initial phase of testing this e-vetting system will take place in the fourth quarter of 2013. When this is achieved, this system will streamline the overall vetting process in this jurisdiction, and further contribute to reductions in processing times for all vetting applications.

Crime Prevention

 174. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the additional steps that will be taken by An Garda Síochána to address the increase in serious knife-related crimes which have occurred in the greater Dublin area in the past number of weeks. [41665/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can assure the Deputy that a comprehensive and robust legal framework is in place with respect to knife crime including heavy penalties for breaches of the laws concerned. In recent years the maximum penalty for possessing a knife in a public place without good reason or lawful authority has been increased from one to five years, and An Garda Síochána also now have an extended power of search without warrant in relation to knives and offensive weapons.

  At an operational level, An Garda Síochána pro-actively target public disorder and anti-social behaviour, including knife related crime through the strategic deployment of Garda resources. In this regard, areas identified as public order hot-spots by local Garda management are the subject of additional foot and mobile patrols. In addition, Detective Units and Divisional Crime Task Forces may be utilised to provide a high visibility presence in areas such as late night bars, clubs etc, particularly when people are exiting, to deter and detect anti-social behaviour and possible altercations. However, it should be noted that many knife crimes occur in domestic settings and often with a degree of spontaneity, which increases the challenges for preventative policing and enforcement.

  In relation to the investigation of specific knife-related crimes, I am assured that all appropriate resources, including any necessary technical and forensic facilities are employed by An Garda Síochána to secure detections and identify perpetrators of these crimes. The Deputy will be aware that persons have been charged in connection with a number of the recent fatal stabbing incidents.

  In addition to these enforcement measures, An Garda Síochána are involved in a number of awareness measures relating to knife crime, and I understand that the Garda Schools Programme and the Dublin Metropolitan Region Teenagers and Gardaí Programmes are utilised and include talks on knives and other weapons for secondary school pupils, emphasising the dangers involved and the need for care, vigilance and social responsibility.

Deed Poll

 175. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if it is possible here for husbands to take their spouse's surname when they get married; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41681/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The tradition whereby some women change their surnames on marriage to use their husband's surname is not governed by statute. There is no barrier preventing a husband from commencing to use his spouse's surname should he choose to do so. A person may also change name by means of deed poll: the purpose of this is principally to provide documentary evidence that the person has adopted a new name.

Garda Transport Data

 176. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the amount of money that would be required for the purchase of an additional 600 vehicles for the Garda fleet in 2014.  [41708/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy will appreciate, Garda vehicles are required for a wide variety of policing requirements and, accordingly, the Garda fleet comprises different models of vehicles produced by a number manufacturers. In the circumstances I understand that it would not be practicable to provide a precise figure for the purpose referred to by the Deputy.

Overall, the Deputy will be aware that an additional €3 million was made available towards the end of last year which enabled the Force to procure 171 vehicles. This brought total investment in the Garda fleet in 2012 to €4 million and resulted in a total of 213 new vehicles being procured during the year. Furthermore, a specific allocation of €5 million has been provided for the purchase and fit-out of Garda transport in the current year.

This represents a very considerable financial investment in Garda transport, particularly at a time when the level of funding available across the public sector is severely limited. It is a clear indication of my commitment to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, An Garda Síochána are provided with sufficient resources to enable them to deliver an effective and efficient policing service. In keeping with that approach, I will continue to seek to identify the potential for additional funding for the Garda Fleet. This will, of course, be contingent on expenditure in other areas.

Garda Transport Data

 177. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form a district breakdown of Garda vehicles numbers in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [41709/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The provision and allocation of Garda resources, including transport, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. In turn, the deployment of Garda vehicles is kept under on-going review by the Garda authorities and revised in response to policing demands.

  This flexibility in allocating and re-allocating vehicles, so as to best match the allocation of resources with priorities, is crucial to the efficient management of the Garda fleet. As a consequence, the Deputy will appreciate that it is not practicable to provide these figures at District level for the years requested.

  In that context, I am advised by the Garda authorities that the number of Garda vehicles by Division in 2007, 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013 is set out in the following table. It should also be noted that there have been a number of Divisional boundaries realignments over the period concerned.

31 December 2007 -
Division No.
CARLOW-KILDARE 48
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 61
CLARE 49
CORK CITY 102
CORK NORTH 41
CORK WEST 53
DMR EAST 45
DMR NORTH 115
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 76
DMR SOUTH 64
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 81
DMR WEST 102
DONEGAL 64
GALWAY WEST 58
KERRY 45
LAOIS-OFALY 50
LIMERICK 92
LONGFORD-WESTMEATH 44
LOUTH 45
MAYO 64
MEATH 45
NATIONAL UNITS 674
ROSCOMMON-GALWAY EAST 30
SLIGO-LEITRIM 55
TIPPERARY 64
WATERFORD-KILKENNY 69
WEXFORD 26
WICKLOW 43


31 December 2008 -
Division No.
CARLOW-KILDARE 65
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 65
CLARE 45
CORK CITY 118
CORK NORTH 51
CORK WEST 56
DMR EAST 54
DMR NORTH 139
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 86
DMR SOUTH 97
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 77
DMR TRAFFIC 79
DMR WEST 116
DONEGAL 71
GALWAY 93
KERRY 47
LAOIS-OFFALY 58
LIMERICK 95
LOUTH 48
MAYO 55
MEATH 55
NATIONAL UNITS 743
ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD 47
SLIGO-LEITRIM 63
TIPPERARY 66
WATERFORD-KILKENNY 83
WESTMEATH 47
WEXFORD 59
WICKLOW 51


31 December 2009 -
Division No.
CARLOW-KILDARE 69
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 64
CLARE 44
CORK CITY 122
CORK NORTH 52
CORK WEST 59
DMR EAST 57
DMR NORTH 141
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 84
DMR SOUTH 95
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 78
DMR TRAFFIC 75
DMR WEST 119
DONEGAL 73
GALWAY 101
KERRY 52
LAOIS-OFFALY 60
LIMERICK 91
LOUTH 48
MAYO 58
MEATH 60
NATIONAL UNITS 789
ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD 49
SLIGO-LEITRIM 63
TIPPERARY 64
WATERFORD-KILKENNY 84
WESTMEATH 53
WEXFORD 54
WICKLOW 56


31 December 2010 -
Division No.
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 63
CLARE 42
CORK CITY 121
CORK NORTH 47
CORK WEST 56
DMR EAST 55
DMR NORTH 130
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 80
DMR SOUTH 89
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 81
DMR TRAFFIC 64
DMR WEST 119
DONEGAL 77
GALWAY 102
KERRY 46
KILDARE 56
KILKENNY/CARLOW 50
LAOIS-OFFALY 58
LIMERICK 98
LOUTH 51
MAYO 59
MEATH 57
NATIONAL UNITS 778
ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD 41
SLIGO-LEITRIM 54
TIPPERARY 60
WATERFORD 50
WESTMEATH 51
WEXFORD 54
WICKLOW 51


31 December 2011 -
Division No.
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 53
CLARE 37
CORK CITY 121
CORK NORTH 42
CORK WEST 52
DMR EAST 52
DMR NORTH 124
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 79
DMR SOUTH 87
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 77
DMR TRAFFIC 63
DMR WEST 114
DONEGAL 71
GALWAY 95
KERRY 44
KILDARE 50
KILKENNY/CARLOW 44
LAOIS-OFFALY 54
LIMERICK 93
LOUTH 49
MAYO 57
MEATH 57
NATIONAL UNITS 772
ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD 39
SLIGO-LEITRIM 52
TIPPERARY 53
WATERFORD 49
WESTMEATH 44
WEXFORD 49
WICKLOW 50


31 December 2012 -
Division No.
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 44
CLARE 36
CORK CITY 100
CORK NORTH 33
CORK WEST 48
DMR EAST 52
DMR NORTH 118
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 68
DMR SOUTH 78
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 69
DMR TRAFFIC 64
DMR WEST 111
DONEGAL 60
GALWAY 78
KERRY 38
KILDARE 41
KILKENNY/CARLOW 43
LAOIS-OFFALY 44
LIMERICK 72
LOUTH 44
MAYO 53
MEATH 50
NATIONAL UNITS 769
ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD 40
SLIGO-LEITRIM 43
TIPPERARY 45
WATERFORD 47
WESTMEATH 37
WEXFORD 39
WICKLOW 50


30 September 2013 -
Division No.
CAVAN-MONAGHAN 48
CLARE 44
CORK CITY 112
CORK NORTH 40
CORK WEST 46
DMR EAST 52
DMR NORTH 112
DMR NORTH CENTRAL 65
DMR SOUTH 79
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL 68
DMR TRAFFIC 62
DMR WEST 107
DONEGAL 58
GALWAY 79
KERRY 38
KILDARE 45
KILKENNY/CARLOW 50
LAOIS-OFFALY 48
LIMERICK 72
LOUTH 45
MAYO 51
MEATH 53
NATIONAL UNITS 772
ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD 41
SLIGO-LEITRIM 48
TIPPERARY 51
WATERFORD 51
WESTMEATH 42
WEXFORD 43
WICKLOW 52

Garda Transport Data

 178. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form a district breakdown of the expected numbers of Garda vehicles to be taken off the road by the end of 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41710/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The provision and allocation of Garda resources, including transport, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. In turn, the deployment of Garda vehicles is kept under on-going review by the Garda authorities and revised in response to policing demands.

This flexibility in allocating and re-allocating vehicles, so as to best match the allocation of resources with priorities, is crucial to the efficient management of the Garda fleet. As a consequence, the Deputy will appreciate that it is not practicable to provide details of the number of vehicles to be decommissioned by the end of 2014 by Garda District.

Garda vehicles are retired for a variety of reasons, including where vehicles are considered beyond economic repair or as a result of accidents. Also, I understand from the Garda authorities that the relevant manufacturers have indicated that, for safety reasons, vehicles should be withdrawn from service at certain stages. Accordingly, this is the operational policy that is applied by the Garda authorities. Based on current usage, it is estimated that approximately 456 Garda vehicles may be retired between now and the end of the 2014.

Overall, the Deputy will be aware that an additional €3 million was made available towards the end of last year which enabled the Force to procure 171 vehicles. This brought total investment in the Garda fleet in 2012 to €4 million and resulted in a total of 213 new vehicles being procured during the year. Furthermore, a specific allocation of €5 million has been provided for the purchase and fit-out of Garda transport in the current year.

This represents a very considerable financial investment in Garda transport, particularly at a time when the level of funding available across the public sector is severely limited. It is a clear indication of my commitment to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, An Garda Síochána are provided with sufficient resources to enable them to deliver an effective and efficient policing service. In keeping with that approach, I will continue to seek to identify the potential for additional funding for the Garda Fleet. This will, of course, be contingent on expenditure in other areas.

Garda Deployment

 179. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form a district breakdown of Garda numbers in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41711/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy is already aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of demographics, crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of each Garda District throughout the country on 31 December 2007 to 2012 and on 31 August 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is set out in the following spreadsheet. The table is available as attachment Q179.xls at the top of the web page.

Garda Transport Data

 180. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form a district breakdown of Garda mobile unit stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41712/13]

 182. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of mobile station units he has commissioned in 2012, 2013 and for 2014; the costs involved per annum; the ongoing operating costs per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41714/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 180 and 182 together.

Decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of policing resources, including Garda transport, are an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner. As the Deputy will be aware, earlier this year the Garda authorities indicated that they proposed to provide a number of mobile Garda offices. At this stage, however, I understand from the Garda authorities that they have decided not to proceed with the proposal, at least for the present.

In that context I have been informed by the Garda authorities that current community policing needs are being met in conjunction with the Garda Community Engagement Programme and they have concluded that the introduction of mobile offices would provide limited identifiable benefits for the public or the Force. Accordingly, the vehicles purchased for use as mobile offices are being re-deployed for other Garda purposes.

Overall, the Garda authorities have indicated that the Garda operational arrangements in place throughout the country are sufficient to ensure the continued delivery of a comprehensive policing service to all communities. In addition they have confirmed that these arrangements will be kept under on-going review.


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