The Justice and Equality Vote Group includes the Department of Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, the Courts Service, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Policing Authority. Vote 20 relates to the An Garda Síochána.
The Deputy will be aware that the resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels. As the Deputy has indicated, the overall capital allocation for 2019 is over €92 million, in addition to a further almost €3.6 million in unspent capital carried over from 2018. This total is divided across the Garda estate, the Garda fleet and Garda ICT as in the revised estimates.
It is a matter for the Commissioner to efficiently manage the resources provided to An Garda Síochána, based upon operational requirements. I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review so as to ensure their optimum use.
In that context, I am not in a position to provide a list of all projects for 2019 at this stage. Nonetheless, the following general information may be of interest to the Deputy.
A capital allocation of €10 million will be available to An Garda Síochána for the Garda fleet in 2019. The allocation across Divisions is a matters to be determined by the Commissioner, in accordance with operational needs.
A total of €61 million has been allocated to Garda ICT infrastructure and Communications for 2019. I understand that a full list of ICT projects for 2019, together with a breakdown of the roll-out of additional ICT infrastructure across the Divisions, is still being finalised within An Garda Síochána.
In terms of the Garda estate, I would recall that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation and accordingly the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW.
Funding for the ongoing investment in the Garda estate is spread across the Garda and OPW votes. Insofar as concerns the Garda vote, a total of approximately €21.5 million supports relevant building programmes for 2019, together with a further almost €3.6 million in unspent capital carried over from 2018.
The Garda Building and Refurbishment programme 2016-2021 will continue to be delivered during 2019. The programme includes planned works at over 30 locations, including:
- major refurbishment of selected stations and facilities, including facilities for meeting victims of crime;
- essential remedial works to selected existing stations; and
- development of large scale Property and Exhibit Management Stores (PEMS).
The programme also includes a Cell Refurbishment Programme and provision of improved Custody Management Facilities.
Other major building projects which will continue to be progressed in relation to the Garda estate during 2019 include the ongoing refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station; development of a facility at Military Road, Dublin; and the Garda Station Pilot Re-opening Project.
The clear goal of this significant 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.
As the Deputy will be aware, the current investment in An Garda Síochána has also reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, representing an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.
This significant current and capital investment in An Garda Síochána is 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 citizens and deter crime.