86. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice the status of the proposed new Garda station for Sligo town; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37160/21]


Deputy Heather Humphreys: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. As he will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including the Garda estate. As Minister for Justice, I have no direct role in these matters. The Deputy will also be aware the Office of Public Works, OPW, has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Works on Garda accommodation are progressed by the Garda authorities, working in close co-operation with the OPW. The determination of the need for the development of a new Garda station in any location is considered by the Garda Commissioner in the context of the overall accommodation requirements arising from the ongoing expansion of the Garda workforce and the availability of capital funding as well as the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
One of the key recommendations of the commission was the introduction of a new Garda operating model, which was announced by the Commissioner in 2019. As part of this reform, the Commissioner decided not to progress a new build for Sligo Garda station, taking account of a range of factors, the most pertinent of which was the decision to create a new three-county division of Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim, with the divisional headquarters based in Letterkenny. An Garda Síochána has invested, and continues to invest, significant funding in refurbishing the current Garda station in Sligo. This includes the provision of new locker facilities and the complete upgrade of the three floors in the building, including the public office. I understand further upgrade works are under way, including the provision of a new cell block to allow for additional capacity and improved custody management facilities. The planned works also include accommodation for the scenes of crime unit. An Garda Síochána is committed to providing suitable accommodation for all its operations, including those in Sligo, and is working in conjunction with the OPW to achieve this.