125. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in commencing construction of the Sligo regional Garda station for County Sligo; when construction will commence on site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4465/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will appreciate that 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 responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.
The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is an ambitious 5-year Programme based on agreed Garda priorities, which continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by over €60 million Exchequer funding as well as a major Public Private Partnership (PPP). There has been some good progress on the programme in 2018, as well as in other major projects in relation to the Garda estate, including in particular completion and entry into operational use of 3 new Divisional and Regional Headquarters at Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street (Dublin), which collectively required funding of over €100 million. The clear goal of this investment is 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 Public Private Partnership arrangement included in the Programme is intended to deliver new stations at Sligo, Clonmel and Macroom as well as a new custody suite at the Garda Station at Anglesea Street Cork.
Site acquisition for this PPP bundle has been complex and time-consuming.
I am informed by the OPW and the Garda authorities that the OPW acquired sites for the development of the new station in Macroom in 2015 and that the site for the new station in Sligo was acquired in 2018. The site in Clonmel is a portion of the former Kickham Barracks and has at all material times been in state ownership. Having previously been transferred from the Department of Defence to Tipperary County Council, I am informed by the OPW that all difficulties in relation to completion of transfer of the site from Tipperary County Council to the OPW have been resolved and that the final transfer is being finalised this week. On completion, ownership of all three sites will be vested in the OPW.
The development of PPP projects is progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).
Work is ongoing within my Department and An Garda Síochána on the next stage of this important project and my Department and An Garda Síochána are actively engaging with the NDFA with a view to progressing the matter further. My Department is also engaging with the NDFA in relation to delivery via PPP of a Courts Service project at a site in Hammond Lane, Dublin 7.
It is not possible to provide a timeframe for the completion of these projects at this point, however I can assure the Deputy that delivery of the new stations at Sligo, Clonmel and Macroom through this PPP arrangement is being pursued as a priority.