126. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is considering the re-opening of Garda Síochána stations in Ballymore Eustace and Ballytore in County Kildare; if she is using crime statistics to evaluate this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9136/16]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda Stations is a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
During 2011 and 2012, An Garda Síochána completed a comprehensive review of its district and station network. The objective of this review was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. The review concluded that a revised district and station network commensurate with the organisation’s resource base would best meet public demand. As a result, the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was implemented in 2012 and 2013. This was reflected in An Garda Síochána’s Policing Plans for 2012 and 2013 which set out the details of the closure of 39 Garda stations in 2012 and 100 Garda stations in 2013.
The closures have allowed front line Garda to be managed and deployed with greater mobility, greater flexibility and in a more focused fashion particularly with regard to various targeted police operations.
I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the current consolidation process is largely completed. There are no proposals to either re-open or close any Garda stations in the Policing Plan for 2016.
The Garda Station Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021, which I announced in late October with my colleague the Minister of State at the OPW, is based on agreed priorities which are established by An Garda Síochána. Over thirty locations around the country will benefit from the Programme which includes major refurbishment of stations and facilities including facilities for meeting victims of crime, essential remedial works to existing stations, development of large scale property and exhibit management stores, the upgrade of cells and provision of improved custody management facilities. The Programme will be delivered by the Garda Authorities in cooperation with the OPW which has responsibility for capital expenditure in this area.