Recent media reports on proposals to close Garda stations are without foundation.
Under the Strategic Management Initiative a fundamental review of all aspects of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Garda Siochana is under way. The aim is to position the Garda organisation to respond efficiently and effectively to the challenges it faces in this new millennium. Substantial progress has been achieved and new systems of financial management, human resource management, training and promotion have been developed.
In December 2000, Deloitte & Touche consultants were recruited to carry out a review of the Garda structures, work processes and systems. Under the terms of reference, the consultants are required to develop the HQ and regional organisation structures, review the HQ specific and core role functions, review the roles of ranks, and develop criteria in relation to stations.
I am advised that in assessing criteria in relation to stations the consultants will be focusing on the best use of Garda resources to deliver a policing service to the community. The consultants will not recommend the closure of any Garda stations but will highlight criteria which could be taken into account in any future assessment of how the functioning or location of Garda stations best serves the community.
There are no proposals in relation to opening or closing Garda stations. The consultants' review of Garda structures and operating systems will not report until August or September this year. Any recommendations in their report will then be considered by the Garda SMI steering group and ultimately by Government.