299. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to develop a new modern Garda station in district F on the site formerly earmarked for a new Garda station along Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21884/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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.
An allocation of €1.76 billion has been made to An Garda Síochána 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.
Significant investment is also being made 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. 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. 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 Office of Public Works has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As such, the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close co-operation with the Office of Public Works (OPW).
The Deputy referred to 2 stations in particular, namely Kill O'Grange and Cabinteely. I am informed by the Garda authorities that under the Garda Station Rationalisation Programme of 2012 and 2013, 139 Garda Stations were closed nationwide. Kill O’Grange Garda station, DMR East, was closed and handed back to the Office of Public Works on 27 April 2013. Cabinteely remains an operational Garda station.
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.
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 in the context of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.