14 October 2014

Budget 2015 “a Breakthrough for the Justice Sector”: Minister Fitzgerald

-    Total budget increase of €141 million compared to 2013 - first budget increase since 2008. 
-    Increased investment in An Garda Síochána staff and vehicle levels

Local TD Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice & Equality, today (October 14th) described Budget 2015 as a “breakthrough for the justice sector,” adding that “I have succeeded in securing an increased budget which will ensure better policing across the country”.

She said:

“As Minister for Justice, I am absolutely committed to reducing crime and supporting the work of An Garda Síochána.

“Budget 2015 represents a breakthrough budget for the justice sector with the first budget increase since 2008.  In total, as Minister for Justice I have secured a total budget increase of €141 million compared with budget day last year.

“This increased investment in An Garda Síochána marks a positive step forward for policing in Ireland.

“As local TD for Dublin Mid West, I have regular contact with Gardai from the stations in Lucan, Ronanstown , Clondalkin  and Rathcoole and I know how important it is for Gardai to have access to a modern, effective fleet. This is why I am providing an additional €7 million in 2014 and €3 million in 2015 to allow the procurement and fit-out of approximately 400 new Garda vehicles. These vehicles will begin to come on stream in early 2015.  I am determined that this will include increased provision for marked Garda vehicles, to provide an enhanced visible policing presence in communities around the state and to support Gardai in their efforts to reduce crime.

“These new vehicles will also increased the capacity of Gardaí to respond to and tackle burglaries being committed by highly mobile gangs. On a general note, I continue to work with the Gardai , the Prison Service and the Probation Service to tackle the problems of serial offending, including by serial burglars; and the funding I am providing for 2015, coupled with my plans for reforms to Penal Policy, will help secure this objective.

“I have also announced two further intakes of recruits to the Garda College in Templemore, the first 100 to take place before the end of this year with a further intake of 100 in January 2015.  100 new recruits already entered Garda College in September 2014. These were the first entrants to the Garda College since 2009. I will continue to monitor Garda staffing levels during 2015 with a view to agreeing further intakes to the Garda College as required.

“The funding increases announced in today’s budget, particularly the €40 million increase for the Garda current budget, come on top of three budgets for the years 2012-2014 in which the Fine Gael /Labour Government provided an Garda Síochána with total funding of €414 million - more than Fianna Fáil had proposed providing for the same period, in their previously published National Recovery Plan 2012-2014.

“With the budget now agreed, I look forward to delivering important developments in policing and justice services in 2015.”