Western Region Garda Headquarters, Galway officially opened by Minister Charles Flanagan
The Western Region Garda Headquarters, Galway, was officially opened by Minister Flanagan in Galway on Friday 20 July 2018 in an event attended by Garda Commissioner Donall Ó Cualáin, Minister of State at the Office of Public Works Kevin “Boxer” Moran and representatives from all segments of local society including community and civil society groups.
The Western Region Garda Headquarters, Galway is one of three major new Garda regional and divisional headquarters recently completed. An Garda Síochána indicate that approximately 250 Garda personnel are expected to be based in the Western Region Garda Headquarters when fully operational.
Two other major new Garda HQ developments have also been completed at Wexford (September 2017) and Kevin Street, Dublin (April 2018). The construction of these 3 regional and divisional headquarters involved Exchequer funding of over € 100 million.
These state-of-the-art facilities represent a major investment in Garda infrastructure and will significantly assist An Garda Síochána both in continuing to provide a professional policing service in their regions and also in the delivery of the Modernisation and Renewal Programme.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Flanagan referred to the Government’s ongoing investment in the Garda estate and said:
“We are now seeing the results of the unprecedented public funding provided to An Garda Síochána in recent years. In addition to the 3 top-quality regional and divisional headquarters completed in Galway, Wexford and Dublin, significant progress is now also being made by the Office of Public Works, in conjunction An Garda Síochána, in the wider Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme. For example, cell upgrade works have already been completed at 80 Garda stations”.
Minister Flanagan noted that “the opening of the new Regional Headquarters was taking place at a time of major reform and investment which will redefine our national police service as an organisation. As we approach the centenary of the establishment of An Garda Síochána, the organisation is on the cusp of significant change including in its leadership. The expert Commission on the Future of Policing is in the final stages of its work; its report will chart a new model for Irish policing in the decades ahead and will challenge us all to deliver a new vision for policing in Ireland. In addition, the incoming Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris will bring his ability and vital policing, security and change management experience to the challenge of transforming An Garda Síochána so that it becomes a model of policing excellence, equipped to deal with the huge range of challenges facing police services worldwide.”
A key focus of the current reform programme is the modernisation of the way in which policing services are delivered so as to provide a better service to communities. The Divisional Policing Model, recommended by the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in its landmark report on Garda Reform – Changing Policing in Ireland – in 2015 and adopted by the then Commissioner and the Government, is now being piloted in Galway, Mayo, Cork City and Dublin South Central.
Minister Flanagan said:
“The Divisional Policing Model will bring a more dedicated focus to community policing and the investigation of serious crime across the Divisions through the assignment of Superintendents to these tasks supported by additional Inspectors. Under the new model, administrative functions will be carried out by skilled professional civilians freeing up sworn members to deploy their training, expertise and experience to what they do best – policing our communities. The lessons learned during the pilot, including here in Galway, will be applied across the country as the model is rolled out.”
Minister Flanagan also took the opportunity to thank Commissioner Ó Cualáin for his service, in advance of his retirement in September 2018 and concluded by reiterating the Government’s commitment to continue to deliver on the ambitious investment and reform programmes underway, with a view to ensuring a world-class, strong and visible police presence throughout the country.
Notes for editors
The Western Region Garda Headquarters was designed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) Architectural Services team led by State Architect Ciaran O’Connor.
The Headquarters consists of a complex of buildings, clad in limestone and granite, with a combined area of approximately 11,000 sq. m on a 1.02-hectare site, interconnecting to form a secure courtyard at the centre. The scheme was designed by OPW to incorporate sustainable green design principles. It will achieve an A energy rating, has green roofs and solar panels for water heating.
The contract for construction of the headquarters was awarded to local contractor, JJ Rhatigan & Co. on 2nd October 2015. Works commenced on site soon after and were completed in July 2018.
Approximately 250 Garda personnel are expected to be based in the Western Region Garda Headquarters when fully operational.
The headquarters includes a number of important facilities for delivery of policing services to the community of Galway and the Western Region including:
- improved office and incident management facilities;
- appropriate and universally accessible facilities for meeting members of the public;
- appropriate custody facilities; and
- a Property and Exhibit Management Store.
The facility will also support a range of regional and divisional functions, housing for example:
- a Control Room for the Western and Northern Region;
- Regional armed support unit;
- Divisional policing model hubs and administrative staff;
- Regional specialist units;
- Divisional protective services unit;
- Divisional scenes of crime unit;
- A secure firing range;
- Enhanced training facilities;
- And a newly established regional dog unit.