208. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans of the Office of Public Works for the tendering of new Garda stations in County Cork in 2019; the locations of those stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10618/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of 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, to provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime.
The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána are significant, with an allocation of €1.76 billion for 2019. 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.
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. In addition to that programme, other major works to the Garda estate which are ongoing include the pilot Garda station reopening project, the development of a new facility at Military Road and the major refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station.
I would emphasise that 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. And there has been some good progress in relation to the Garda estate in recent times, including in particular the completion and entry into operational use in 2018 of 3 new Divisional and Regional Headquarters in Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street (Dublin), which collectively required funding of over €100 million.
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.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that a number of Garda stations in Cork are included in these planned or ongoing works:
First, the development of a new station in Glanmire, which will be located in Glanmire Industrial Estate, is included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme. The construction of this station is on-going and the Garda authorities and the OPW advise that completion is expected in early Q3.
I am further informed by the Garda authorities that in order to facilitate the Divisional Policing Model in Cork City, the Cork City Divisional Roads Policing Unit is relocating from Anglesea Street to Ballincollig Garda Station and that works to accommodate the Divisional Roads Policing Unit in Ballincollig Garda Station are scheduled for this year.
A new station in Macroom is also included in the programme, with delivery of that station along with new stations in Clonmel and Sligo as well as a new custody suite at the station on Anglesea Street Cork to be achieved as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. 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.
A station in Cork is also included in the pilot station reopening project. As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to a pilot scheme to reopen 6 Garda stations, both urban and rural, to determine possible positive impacts that such openings will have on criminal activity, with special emphasis on burglaries, theft and public order.
The Garda Commissioner's final report, which is available on my Department's website, recommends that Ballinspittle Garda Station be reopened, along with stations in Bawnboy, Co. Cavan, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow, Donard, Co. Wicklow, and Rush and Stepaside, Co. Dublin.
The OPW and Garda authorities are cooperating closely on delivery of these stations. In relation to Ballinspittle, I understand that the OPW proposals for the refurbishment of Ballinspittle Station were agreed by An Garda Síochána at a sign-off meeting in October 2018 and that the next phase of the project is the procurement/tendering of works, which is expected to commence shortly.
Finally and more generally, I am informed that An Garda Síochána seeks to address minor maintenance issues and refurbishment works across all Divisions as they arise, liaising closely with the OPW and having regard to overall Garda accommodation priorities.