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Question

4. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details and costs of the refurbishment works already completed or currently under way at the Garda College, Templemore, for the purpose of improving existing accommodation and providing additional accommodation and facilities; if funding is in place to construct a new administrative block; the expected timeframe for completion; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there are eight official Garda houses which have been vacant for some considerable time and have fallen into disrepair (details supplied); the way it is intended to address the accommodation and facility needs of the college in view of the increased demand arising from the accelerated recruitment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15903/17]

Answer

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: As Deputy Lowry will appreciate, the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities and the Office of Public Works. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. However, I want to give the Deputy as much information as possible.
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda College was reopened following the lifting of the moratorium on Garda recruitment. There is now greater demand on the services and accommodation there which have to cope with hundreds of new recruits. Another 750 trainee gardaí are scheduled to attest this year. There will be a need for further development in Templemore.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that, while a number of new facilities were built at the college in the early 2000s, including new administration, catering and recreation facilities, it is accepted that the college infrastructure is in need of further modernisation. Of the seven blocks requiring upgrades, six have been completed, with costs of some €4 million being incurred in recent years.
The Deputy asked about plans for the future. There has been an in-depth examination of the infrastructural needs of the Garda College. My Department's initial submission in the context of the mid-term review of the capital plan references the need for funding for the following proposed developments in Templemore: a ten-unit classroom block; a new purpose-built education and training facility; and a residential accommodation block for trainee gardaí. There is an indicative costing of €35 million. That is entirely dependent on available resources and will be discussed with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
There is greater demand on the college due to increased recruitment. We must ensure that there is a programme of work which will fulfil the needs generated by that increased demand.