Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Radio Network.


asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware that because of the inadequacy of the radio communications system of the Garda in the greater Dublin area criminal elements and others have been in a position to tune into this frequency; and if so, if he will undertake to improve and extend the network; and if he will make urgent arrangements to provide adequate accommodation in the radio control centre in Dublin.

The particular problem referred to by the Deputy is being examined in connection with the improvement of the Garda radio service which, as I have already mentioned in reply to Question No. 243, is having urgent attention.

Plans for a new Communications Centre in Dublin Castle, have been prepared by the Office of Public Works and approved by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána. Detailed drawings are now in course of preparation with a view to inviting tenders for the work as soon as possible.

The Minister will agree that what I have stated in my question has occurred. I know he has not denied that it has occurred. Would the Minister not agree that the present accommodation is quite dreadful? It will be some two years before this new accommodation will be available judging by the rate at which the Board of Works is getting on with the job. There should be some emergency decision taken and decent accommodation provided.

I agree that the present accommodation in the radio communications control centre in Dublin is very bad. Planning by the Board of Works is going ahead as quickly as possible but, when I discovered it would certainly be over a year before the accommodation would be ready, I gave instructions that some type of prefabricated buildings should be used until such time as the permanent buildings are ready. I was informed only quite recently that it was impossible to put that instruction into effect because it is impossible to operate this system from a pre-fabricated building. The new equipment is too big for any sort of reasonable prefabricated building which one could get. In any event, the value of it and the security aspect of it are such that it was felt, on reflection, by the Commissioner that it would be unwise, even if we could get a prefabricated building which would take it, to put it into such a building.