8. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the discussions he or his officials have had with the Office of Public Works or other agencies with a view to progressing the new Macroom Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18059/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, very significant capital investment is being made in An Garda Síochána, 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. Considerable investment is also being made in the Garda estate, to address its deficiencies and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff, as well as the public interacting with them. This is a significant undertaking, as there are currently 565 stations nationwide.
The Deputy will be aware 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 the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.
The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 includes the development of new Garda stations in Macroom, Clonmel and Sligo. These stations will be delivered by way of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The development of PPP projects is progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). The Department of Justice and Equality and the Garda authorities are working with the OPW to progress this matter, with the input and assistance of the NDFA.
Discussions with the OPW have included direct engagement between the Secretary General of my Department and the Chair of the OPW, as well as ongoing working level contacts. I can confirm that the OPW has agreed to provide its expert services in the design of the three stations included in this PPP.
The establishment of PPP projects can be complex and it is vital to get the projects right at the planning and design stage. I can assure the Deputy that delivery of the new Garda stations in Clonmel, Macroom and Sligo through this PPP arrangement is being pursued as a priority.
Pending delivery of the new stations, I am informed that Garda management and the OPW have been working to improve conditions and facilities at the existing stations.