214. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the provision of the new Garda regional headquarters in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10371/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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 to maintain and strengthen community engagement, 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 significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW votes. There has been some good progress on the programme, as well as in other major projects in relation to the Garda estate, including in particular the completion and entry into operational use in 2018 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.
Site acquisition for this PPP bundle has been complex and time-consuming. 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 in 2015 and 2018 respectively. 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 all difficulties in relation to completion of transfer of the site from the Council to the OPW are resolved and that contracts have been agreed and exchanged for closing signature, which brings us to the position that ownership of all three sites will be vested in the OPW.
The development of PPP projects is progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). My Department is working to progress the matter further, with the input and assistance of the NDFA.
It is not possible at this point to provide a timeframe for the completion of these projects, including the new Garda station at Caltragh, Sligo. 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.