214. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if plans are being considered to provide a new Garda station in an area (details supplied); the discussions which have taken place in respect of the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30109/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): An unprecedented budget of €1.76 billion has been allocated to An Garda Síochána in 2019. Very significant capital investment is also being made, amounting to € 92 million this year.
In terms of the estate, the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is an ambitious 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. Other major ongoing works to the Garda estate include the pilot Garda station reopening project, the development of a new facility at Military Road and the major refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station. The 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 Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources made available to An Garda Síochána including responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations. Indeed the Deputy may recall that as recently as December 2018, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in its report “Policing with Local Communities” confirmed that it is appropriate that the Commissioner should continue to hold this responsibility. And the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation and as such, cooperates closely with the Garda authorities in delivery of Garda accommodation and works to the Garda estate.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Building and Refurbishment Programme, which is based on agreed Garda priorities, does not include plans for the development of a new Garda station at Citywest.
Overall Garda accommodation needs, including any potential need for a new station at any location, fall to be considered by An Garda Síochána in the context of the ongoing expansion of the Garda workforce and implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.