As the Deputy will be aware, 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 in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement and provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. This represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.
Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána. This includes
- investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deliver on reform and deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community;
- investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period; and
- considerable capital investment is also being made in the Garda estate.
As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters.
I am not in a position to confirm to the Deputy today what the exact allocation will be across the Garda Divisions, including Cork Division, for example of the additional vehicles which will be purchased from the €10 million capital allocation to the Garda Fleet in 2019; or the roll-out of additional ICT infrastructure across the Divisions. These matters will be determined by the Commissioner, in accordance with operational needs.
In terms of investment in the Garda estate, the Deputy will be aware that the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is based on agreed Garda priorities. It an ambitious 5-year programme, which continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by over €60 million Exchequer funding as well as a major Public Private Partnership (PPP). The clear goal of this investment is to address deficiencies in the Garda estate and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff as well as the public interacting with them.
The Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.
Insofar as capital investment in County Cork is concerned, I am pleased to say that the development of a new Garda station for Glanmire is included in the programme. Construction of this new station is ongoing and OPW has advised that completion is expected in the third quarter of 2019.
Further, in order to facilitate the Divisional Policing Model in Cork City, I am informed that the Cork City Divisional Roads Policing Unit is being moved from Anglesea Street to Ballincollig Garda Station. Capital expenditure is involved to facilitate appropriate accommodation to permit this move.
Third, delivery of a new Garda station at Macroom, Cork and a new custody suite at the Garda station at Anglesea Street, Cork, are included in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement forming part of the building programme, along with new stations at Clonmel and Sligo.
Finally, as the Deputy will be aware, Ballinspittle Garda station is included as one of the 6 stations included in the Pilot Garda Station Reopening Programme. I understand from the OPW that the necessary works at Ballinspittle are currently expected to be completed by end summer 2019.
This is a substantial programme of development and I can assure the Deputy of my commitment to seeing its completion in the shortest time possible.