Thursday, 13 December 2012

Questions (130, 131)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

130. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the savings that will arise from his proposed closure of a Garda Station (details supplied) in County Kildare; his plans for the station building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56033/12]

View answer

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

131. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the savings that will arise from his proposed closure of a Garda station in County Kildare; his plans for the station building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56034/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 130 and 131 together.

The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the annual financial saving estimated to arise in respect of the closure of the stations referred to by the Deputy is Euro 4,000 per station. To a large extent these estimates relate to heating and lighting costs and they do not take account of specific repair bills, which will vary from premises to premises.

As the Deputy will be aware, the closure of the two stations has been proposed by the Garda Commissioner in his Policing Plan for 2013 and I would stress that the key objective involved is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than to secure modest cash savings. In this context the Commissioner has concluded in relation to certain stations that Garda resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if the stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained.

In making his recommendations on the closure of Garda stations, the Commissioner reviewed all aspects of An Garda Síochána's policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations. In addition, the Commissioner has given a commitment that where a station is to be closed local Garda management will consult with local communities on the alternative policing arrangements to be put in place in their area.

Furthermore, the Garda Commissioner has indicated he is confident that the implementation of the restructuring proposals contained in the 2013 Policing Plan will not lead to any diminution in the service provided by An Garda Síochána. In that regard he has stated that the revised structures will continue to support the Garda community philosophy through the clustering of services at policing hubs. This centralisation of services will facilitate the introduction of enhanced patrolling arrangements which, in turn, will provide increased Garda visibility as well as maintaining existing Garda links with communities throughout the country.

The question of the future of a vacated Garda station is a matter for the Office of Public Works. Where such a premises is State-owned, it will be available for alternative community use or disposal.