Thursday, 27 November 1980
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Keating: asked the Minister for Justice if he will give details of the location, standard of maintenance and any proposed improvements which it is proposed to carry out to all Garda stations  in the country, outlining how soon any proposed improvements are to take place; and whether he is satisfied with the present condition of each Garda station.
Mr. Keating: asked the Minister for Justice when the last review of conditions in Garda stations throughout the country took place; whether he is satisfied with conditions at present operating in such Garda stations; whether he has any proposals for improvements to such Garda stations; if he will outline by name. number and county the stations in need of attention; if he will give figures for the estimate of capital expenditure which he anticipates will be required in updating these conditions in these stations over the next five years; if he will give figures for capital expenditure in such stations in each of the last four years; if he is aware of the appallingly bad conditions prevailing in many stations at the present time in that they lack basic facilities; and if he will make a statement on these matters.
In a situation where we are dealing with a total of 700 Garda stations, which range from newly-built stations where accommodation is very good to stations that need to be completely renovated or replaced, it is impossible to provide the type of detailed statistical answer that is sought by these Questions. There can be few buildings of any type in the country — private or public — that could not be said to be in need of some sort of attention. Moreover, Garda superintendents throughout the country have authority to deal directly with the local Office of Public Works staff in order to have a wide variety of improvement and maintenance works carried out to stations within their districts, without any reference to their own headquarters or to my Department. Works of this nature are continually being dealt with and completed.
 (1) Garda stations are inspected annually to determine maintenance requirements and the necessary works are put in hand as soon as possible. With 700 stations to be maintained, many of them in existence for well over 100 years, the problem of achieving a satisfactory level of maintenance in all cases is a formidable one. A considerable number of station premises are held by the State under leases, the terms of which in many cases place an obligation on the lessor to maintain at least part of the structure. Certain maintenance work, e.g. painting, is of a recurring nature and is being carried out continually. While every effort is made to maintain standards at an acceptable level it is not possible at any stage to be satisfied with the condition of every building.
(3) Apart from maintenance works, major and minor improvements works are continually being carried out at Garda stations and new stations are being provided where necessary. Priority is given to stations where needs for improvement are most pressing. The total capital expenditure on these works in the four years 1976 to 1979 inclusive is £4,171,000.
In accordance with the normal rules governing the publication of estimates for public expenditure, I am not in a position to disclose any estimate of what capital expenditure I might think appropriate over the next five years.
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