CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I want to thank the Deputy for raising this important matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, 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). As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
The Deputy will also be aware of the significant efforts being made by Government to enhance the working environment generally for members of An Garda Síochána and of the major investment that has been committed under the Capital Plan 2016-2021 to upgrade Garda premises.
The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021, which is an ambitious 5 year Programme based on agreed Garda priorities, continues to benefit over thirty locations around the country. The Programme includes over €60million of Exchequer funding as well as a major Public Private Partnership (PPP) project to deliver stations at Clonmel as well as at Macroom and Sligo.
Two site transfers are involved in the Clonmel development. It is proposed that the new Clonmel development will be built on part of the former Kickham Barracks site, which has been acquired by Tipperary County Council and arrangements to transfer appropriate ownership to the OPW are in train.
In addition, the OPW owns a building immediately adjacent to the entrance and a portion of that site needs to be transferred to the Council, in order to facilitate the overall development of the site.
An important element of the plan involves the widening of the existing main entrance to the Barracks site. The OPW has actively engaged with the Council and a revised entrance arrangement solution has been identified. In addition, the Council has demolished an existing site hut, in order to bring clarity to the site boundary.
OPW is engaging with the Council in order to complete the necessary legal documentation regarding the two site transfers involved.
I understand that acquisition by the OPW of the site for Macroom is complete; and that acquisition of sites for the Clonmel and Sligo stations is also well advanced. Once completed, the development of the PPP bundle will be progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).
Pending development of the new station, a project to upgrade the cells and custody facilities in the existing Clonmel Garda station is well advanced. This comprises the refurbishment of 4 cells to modern standards and the installation of a prisoner shower facility. Arrangements to source alternative accommodation for locker facilities during the construction are being finalised by OPW. A contract for construction has been placed by OPW and work is expected to commence shortly.
I want to reassure the House that the Government is fully committed to proceeding with its major investment programme that aims to provide new stations and to modernise older stations at key locations around the country, ensuring a safe, modern working environment for Gardaí as well as fit-for-purpose facilities for visitors, victims and suspects.