139. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the programme for the refurbishment of Garda stations nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4658/19]
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.
Investment of €342 million is being made in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021; along with investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period.
In relation to the Garda estate, I would first note 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 the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is based on agreed Garda priorities in relation to their accommodation needs nationwide. It 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 and Mullingar; that remedial works have been completed in a number of locations, including Bailieborough, Henry Street Limerick and the Garda College; 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 such as Glanmire, Athlone and Transaer House, Dublin Airport, contractors are on-site; while in other cases works are at various points in the design and procurement phases.
In relation to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme which will deliver new stations at Clonmel, Macroom and Sligo as well as a new custody suite at Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department and An Garda Síochána are engaging actively with the NDFA in relation to progressing the project.
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.
I am informed that other major building projects currently progressing in relation to the Garda estate include the refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station, on which enabling works commenced during 2018; the 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.