As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including the management and efficient use of resources, having regard to operational need.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As a result, all works to the Garda estate involve close cooperation between the OPW and the Garda authorities. Major capital investment has been made in the Garda estate in recent years, to provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff, as well as the public interacting with them. This is a significant undertaking, as there are over 560 stations nationwide.
Significant funding has been provided for the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 which is based on agreed Garda priorities, underpinned by significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW Votes. The programme is benefiting over 30 locations and I understand that some work was previously carried out at Mullingar in the context of that programme. Other major ongoing works to the estate include the development of a new facility at Military Road and the refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station as well as the Pilot Garda station reopening project.
As the Deputy is aware, the Commissioner last month announced a new Operating Model, which includes a restructuring of the existing Regions and Divisions. Decisions on the location of Divisional and other Headquarters are operational questions for the Commissioner and, as Minister, I have no role in these decisions.
In the new model, the existing Meath and Westmeath Divisions will be merged and will form part of the Eastern Garda Region with the new Meath/Westmeath Divisional Headquarters to be situated in Mullingar. I am informed by the Commissioner that in light of the new structures, An Garda Síochána is undertaking a review of accommodation requirements, including Mullingar Garda Station. I am informed that the need for new or additional Garda accommodation or facilities in Mullingar will be considered and prioritised in the context of that review.