Wednesday, 13 May 1987
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Boland: asked the Minister for Justice the proposals, if any, he has regarding the Garda Training Centre at Templemore, County Tipperary, when the remaining 50 trainees on the four year old recruitment panel have completed their training in November 1987.
Mr. Collins: In addition to preliminary training courses for recruits, a number of other training courses are provided at the Garda Training Centre, Templemore. These courses include driving courses, promotion courses, refresher training courses for recruits and certain specialist training such as training in the use of firearms. These courses will continue to be held in Templemore.
I might add that a project team representative of the Office of Public Works, the Garda authorities and my Department have been set up to carry out a detailed feasibility study to determine how best the existing accommodation in Templemore can be improved and developed to the standard required of a modern police training centre catering for all levels of Garda training, from recruit to senior management.
Mr. Lowry: In view of the fact that this centre plays a vital role in the commercial life of Templemore, I should like to know how many of the staff are civilians and what arrangements is the Minister making to protect the civilian employment in that centre?
Mr. Collins: There are a number of decisions to be made with regard to the facilities at Templemore. The buildings are old Army barracks dating back to the last century. As the Deputy will know, they are in very bad repair. The Walsh report on Garda training has come out very strongly on this issue. Because of that I have established within the last couple of weeks the type of committee I have just mentioned — composed of members of my Department, the building section of the Office of Public Works and the Garda authorities — to advise on how best we can improve the buildings having regard to what is required, and we will see where we are going from here.
Mr. Lowry: I appreciate the Minister's concern about the future but it is important that the cloud of uncertainty be lifted from the civilian staff and that their anxiety be dissipated. Government policy will lead to inevitable closure of the centre. I should like to ask the Minister if he is aware of the pre-election verbal and written commitments of his north Tipperary ministerial colleague to maintain recruitment and training staff in the centre and not to allow any diminution of its role? The Minister should keep that commitment in mind in whatever review he undertakes.
Mr. Collins: There need be no concern among the staff in Templemore. I gave an assurance to them when I visited Templemore a couple of weeks ago — I will be back there tommorrow and, if necessary, I will repeat it — that they will be kept on. However, the fire officer has condemned the building and we must do something about it. We have been advised that the building is totally unsuitable for the purpose for which it is used. If we wish to implement the proposals of the Walsh report and have recruits in training for a much longer period, we will have to face the problem in the immediate future.
Mr. Noonan: (Limerick East): The Minister said that he gave assurance to the staff in Templemore in regard to employment. Can he now give an assurance in the House that no civilian staff will be made redundant in 1987?
Mr. Collins: I am advised by the Garda authorities that as courses are prepared and listed to take place in Templemore the civilian staff will be required to play their part in seeing that these courses go on.
Mr. Collins: I do not want the Deputy to think I am trying to score a political  point but I only established this committee in the past couple of weeks because I felt there was an urgent need for it.
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