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. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021; and investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period.
In terms of investment in the Garda estate, the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is an ambitious 5-year programme based on agreed Garda priorities, which continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by over €60 million in Exchequer funding as well as a major Public Private Partnership (PPP). There has been some good progress on the programme in 2018, as well as in other major projects in relation to the Garda estate, including in particular the completion and entry into operational use of 3 new Divisional and Regional Headquarters at Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street (Dublin), which collectively required funding of over €100 million. 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.
The Public Private Partnership arrangement included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme is intended to deliver new stations at Macroom, Clonmel and Sligo as well as a new custody suite at the Garda Station at Anglesea Street Cork.
I am informed by the OPW and the Garda authorities that the OPW acquired sites for the development of the new stations in Macroom and in Sligo. The site in Clonmel is a portion of the former Kickham Barracks and has at all material times been in state ownership. Having previously been transferred from the Department of Defence to Tipperary County Council, I am informed by the OPW that difficulties in relation to completion of transfer of the site from Tipperary County Council to the OPW have all been resolved and that the final transfer is to be finalised this week. On completion, ownership of all three sites will be vested in the OPW.
The Deputy asked that I request the NDFA to implement the PPP. I can confirm to the Deputy that the development of PPP projects is progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). As the Deputy will appreciate, preparation of a PPP can be complex, but work is ongoing within my Department and An Garda Síochána on the next stage of this important project. I can assure the Deputy that my Department and An Garda Síochána are actively engaging with the NDFA with a view to progressing the matter further. These engagements concern the appropriate scope and governance of the PPP bundle, as well as costings and design for the stations.
It is not possible at this point to provide a timeframe for completion of the projects. However I can assure the Deputy that delivery of the new Garda stations at Clonmel, Macroom and Sligo through this PPP arrangement is being pursued as a priority.