447. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress made to date with regard to a programme (details supplied); the initial works undertaken with regard to the period beyond 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1147/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Very significant capital investment is being made in An Garda Síochána, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensure a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
The Deputy refers to the Garda Building and Refurbishment programme 2016-2021. The programme is based on agreed Garda priorities in relation to their accommodation needs nationwide and involves over €60 million exchequer funding spread across both the OPW and Garda Votes as well as a major PPP. This investment is intended to address deficiencies in the Garda estate and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff as well as the public interacting with them.
The programme includes planned works at over 30 locations, including:
- major refurbishment of selected stations and facilities, including facilities for meeting victims of crime;
- essential remedial works to selected existing stations; and
- development of large scale Property and Exhibit Management Stores (PEMS).
The programme also includes a Cell Refurbishment Programme and provision of improved Custody Management Facilities.
Good progress is being made in implementation of the programme. I am informed by the Garda authorities and the OPW that work has already been completed at 83 stations under the Cell Refurbishment Programme. I further understand that refurbishments have been completed at locations including Tralee, Mullingar and Stradone; that remedial works have been completed in a number of locations, including Newport and Bailieboro; and that PEMS stores have been completed in Ennis and Castlebar. I further understand that fire safety works have been completed at a number of locations and that custody facilities have been completed at Henry Street, Limerick. I am informed that a range of other refurbishments and works included in the programme are progressing. In some cases contractors are on-site; while in other cases works are at various points in the design and procurement phases.
The Deputy will also be aware that in addition to works complete or ongoing under the Building and Refurbishment Programme, three new Regional and Divisional Headquarters have been constructed in Galway, Wexford and Kevin Street, Dublin with the provision of Government funding of over €100 million. Each of these headquarters has been completed and is now operational.
Other major building projects progressing in relation to the Garda estate include the ongoing refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station; development of a facility at Military Road, Dublin; and the Garda Station Pilot Re-opening Project.
These and other developments are the result of the unprecedented investment currently being made in An Garda Síochána and demonstrate the Government’s commitment to addressing the deficiencies in the Garda estate and the accommodation needs of the organisation in accordance with agreed Garda priorities and in a planned and structured way.