I really must raise this issue again. First, I pay tribute to a very sad victim who fell into the river, or was located in the river, in Carrick-on-Suir under the district of Clonmel superintendent Willie Leahy and his sergeant and staff in Carrick-on-Suir. I pay tribute to the public, the Civil Defence and everyone else involved. Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue carried out a huge search for nine days and located her body. The funeral of this little 14 year old from Carrick-on-Suir was today. I salute the Garda Síochána for co-ordinating the whole event, tragic as it was. Thankfully, her remains have been located. The funeral was very sad.
I salute the local Garda because they do tremendous work daily under Superintendent Leahy, the sergeant in charge and all the other gardaí. However, the Minister for Justice and Equality has seen the conditions in the station. I hope we will hear good news from him today.
In 2012, the then Minister, Alan Shatter, and the then Minister of State, Tom Hayes, announced that there would be a new station and that it was moving to a new site. The old Army barracks was a proud system of defence and served the people in Tipperary so it will be a wonderful location for a new station. The then Minister and Minister of State announced the project at the time and, unfortunately, Mr. Hayes said the funding would be provided in the following round. That was in 2012 under the capital funding project. Nonetheless, we did not see the station open.
Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran is now the Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW. There is a bundle of stations in Sligo, one in Cork and one elsewhere. There are some technical delays on land issues and disputes over rights of way and so on. However, the people of Clonmel and the Garda Síochána deserve better. Tipp FM recently went into the site and was shocked, as is anyone who visits it. It is a Dickensian building, hundreds of years old, and is on lease from the county council, which incidentally wants the building back. To make matters worse, it is a listed building. I acknowledge the Minister for Justice and Equality has provided upgrades to some of the toilet facilities and some of the cells in recent times and rented another building down the town as well. He had to do so because there is neither the space nor the equipment in the site and it is higgledy-piggledy upstairs and downstairs. It is not in any way suitable for the public or An Garda Síochána. The space in the public office is not as big as the three seats beside me. If a woman with a buggy or a family comes in, they must come in and sign on, get passports stamped, get driving licences or whatever else alongside them. There is no privacy for people to do their business. If there are people there who are out on bail on serious crimes, they could be in the same restricted area. It is unfair and unfit and it has gone on for too long.
I do not want any more announcements from the Minister. I do not expect him to make any, in fairness. I want to see the contract signed and the sod turned in order that the Garda can move into the building. Tús maith, leath na hoibre. Let the building proceed. I know it will take some time from the time the builder is appointed and the procurement process is all gone through to the work starting, but we want to see the work start and the contract signed. No one is more anxious about this than me. I have not made announcements about it but I have been on to the Minister and the Minister of State, Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran, and before him the then Minister of State, Deputy Canney, about the matter. We must get this for the public and the Garda Síochána in Tipperary. I salute them and the morale they have maintained as they are expected to go in and work in these conditions. No one, whether us here, factory workers or workers from any other institution, would work in such conditions because they could not. It is totally unsuitable from an IT, personnel and fire safety point of view. They must stand up on a toilet bowl to get out of the window at one of the fire escapes. It is beyond talking about. It is time we moved on and got this modern building to serve modern times to allow all ranks of the Garda Síochána to give the service they want to give to the people of Clonmel and Tipperary.