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Garda Stations

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 30 June 2020

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Questions (283, 284, 285, 286)

Frank Feighan

Question:

283. Deputy Frankie Feighan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 325 to 329, inclusive, of 16 June 2020, if she will provide a copy of the letter referenced outlining the decision not to proceed with a new Garda station for Sligo received by her on 2 January 2020; if she will provide a copy of all correspondence between the Garda Commissioner and her on the issue of the new Sligo Garda station as part of the PPP bundle between 1 August 2019 and 18 June 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12819/20]

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Frank Feighan

Question:

284. Deputy Frankie Feighan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost-benefit analysis conducted by her Department on the decision to divert as planned State funding away from a new Garda station in Sligo and instead to invest in remedial works at the current station instead; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12821/20]

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Frank Feighan

Question:

285. Deputy Frankie Feighan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the decision to invest in the old Garda station in Sligo instead of investing in a new station as originally planned has been future proofed against the future operational needs of An Garda Síochána in Sligo; if the decision took into consideration responsibilities in relation to the Disability Act 2005 and providing disability access of public buildings to staff and the public; the green energy perspective of the decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12824/20]

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Frank Feighan

Question:

286. Deputy Frankie Feighan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will make additional funding available under the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016–2021 to proceed with the building of a new Garda station in Sligo as originally planned at the site already purchased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12828/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 283 to 286, inclusive, together.

At the outset it is important to be clear that the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management and control of An Garda Síochána and for the effective and efficient use of Garda resources. Further, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Works in relation to Garda accommodation are therefore progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW

As set out in the response of the former Minister to Parliamentary Question Nos. 325, 326, 327, 328 and 329 of 16 June 2020, the decision not to proceed with a new Garda station in Sligo, as part of the Garda PPP programme, was made by the Garda Commissioner in his capacity as Accounting Officer and as the person responsible, by law, for the allocation of Garda resources. This decision was taken in the context of the significant reorganisation of Garda resources which underpins the new Garda Síochána Operating Model announced by the Garda Commissioner last year.

As part of the reduction of bureaucracy and streamlining of administrative processes in the new Operating Model, the number of Garda Regions and Divisions is being reduced and Sligo Garda Station will be neither a Regional nor a Divisional Headquarters. As a consequence, Garda management has decided that a building of the scale envisaged under the original PPP programme is no longer operationally required in Sligo and the allocation of public funding for such a project can no longer be justified.

This decision was communicated to my Department by letter received on 2 January 2020. The substance of this letter pertaining to Sligo Garda station was outlined to the Deputy in response to Parliamentary Question Nos. 325, 326, 327, 328 and 329 of 16 June 2020.

I am informed that, in order to ensure that there is adequate accommodation to provide an effective Garda policing service in Sligo, the existing Sligo Garda station is undergoing a very extensive refit overseen by the Office of Public Works (OPW). This option has been judged by the Garda authorities to be a more appropriate and much faster way of delivering a modern Garda station, in accordance with its role in the new Garda Operating Model and having regard to the fact that the current location of the station is considered optimum from the operational perspective.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the ongoing upgrade works, which include the provision of new cells and custody management facilities, and future planned additional works, are intended to deliver a modernised Garda station in Sligo.

For the information of the Deputy, the following table, furnished to me by the OPW, details expenditure since 2017 on Sligo Garda Station including both the Garda and the OPW votes.

Year

Expenditure on Sligo Garda Station (combined total, OPW and Garda Votes)

2017

€58,362

2018

€116,117

2019

€711,093

2020

€143,275

As the Deputy will appreciate, this demonstrates the scale of the works which have been underway to ensure that Sligo Garda station is fit for purpose and meets the needs of An Garda Síochána.

The OPW, as the body responsible for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation, is responsible for ensuring that public buildings are, as far as practicable, accessible to persons with disabilities. The OPW also has responsibility for ensuring the sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings under its control. The Deputy will appreciate that these are matters in which I have no direct role as Minister for Justice.

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