I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 809 for answer on 23 July 2019 asking if funding will be allocated for the construction of an indoor and outdoor firearm range for training in the use of firearms by armed Gardaí. The Deputy will recall that the information requested could not be obtained in the time available and I undertook to consult with An Garda Síochána on the matter. I have received the requested information and can inform the Deputy as follows.
First it is important to note that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the Garda College has three indoor ranges and has sufficient capacity with outdoor ranges for training in the use of firearms by armed Gardaí. There is also, for example, an indoor firing range at the Galway Divisional Headquarters.
I am informed by An Garda Síochána that there are currently no plans to construct an additional indoor or outdoor firing range for training of Garda members.
More generally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that there has been unprecedented investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to the public and deter crime.
A record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 and this is increasing further to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020. Significant capital investment is also being made, amounting to a total of €92 million this year and rising further to over €116 million in 2020. This includes capital investment which is being made in the Garda estate. The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is based on agreed Garda priorities. It continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by over €60 million exchequer funding. The clear goal of this investment is to address deficiencies in the Garda estate and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Gardaí and members of the public interacting with them.