813. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice the number of vacant Garda residences attached to Garda stations; the number of other Garda properties surplus to requirement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21545/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management and control of An Garda Síochána and for the effective and efficient use of Garda resources. Further, the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation, including official Garda residences, 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.
The Garda estate comprises of 569 Garda Stations and a significant number of non-Station facilities (e.g. Garda Headquarters, Garda College in Templemore and Harcourt Square). In addition to these operational facilities, official accommodation properties are attached to 197 operational Garda Stations.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that it is not possible to provide a precise figure on the number of vacant official accommodation properties as the figure can fluctuate due to a variety of factors (retirements and relocation of members etc). However, I am informed that a survey of official accommodation carried out in 2018 indicated that in the order of half of these properties are occupied at any given time.
Garda management is aware of the benefits that having official accommodation occupied brings to a local area by way of accessibility to members of An Garda Síochána and a community presence and seeks to have accommodation occupied wherever possible. However, I am informed that the age profile and associated condition of many official accommodation properties means that this wish must be balanced with the competing demands upon resources for the enhancement of the Garda estate.
I am further informed that the Garda authorities are not aware of any operational properties in the Garda Estate that are deemed surplus to requirements.