Dáil Éireann - Volume 628 - 22 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Garda Equipment.

Mr. Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of mountain bikes available to Gardaí in the Mayo division; the locations of same; the extra bikes to be allocated to this division in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39643/06]

  Mr. McDowell: I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the personnel strength (all ranks) of An Garda Síochána increased to a record 13,000 on Thursday, 16 November, 2006, following the attestation of 299 [318] new members. This compares with a total strength of 10,702 (all ranks) as at 30 June, 1997 and represents an increase of 2,298 (or 21.5%) in the personnel strength of the Force during that period. The induction of 280 new Garda recruits to the Garda College on 6 November, 2006 resulted in a combined strength, of both attested Gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,137. The Garda Budget now stands at €1.3 billion, a 13% increase on 2005 and an 85% increase since 1997 in real terms.

I have been further informed by the Garda authorities, that there are currently two mountain bikes allocated to the Castlebar District of the Mayo Garda Division. Two members have been equipped and trained in the use of these bikes. I am also informed that training has been arranged for a further three members, and that additional mountain bikes and equipment will be available for allocation before the end of 2006 with further bikes and equipment due to be delivered in 2007.