Thursday, 8 June 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
31. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the list of ten worst Garda stations drawn up by the Garda Representative Associations; his views on whether it is acceptable that members of the force should have to work in such conditions; the steps he is taking to ensure that these stations are replaced or refurbished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22126/06]
34. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the details of the progress being made to refurbish Garda stations around the country in need of improvement and modernisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22203/06]
The Deputies can be assured that there is an enormous work programme in place to progress the refurbishment or replacement of specific Garda stations in order to bring them up to the highest standard. Between the start of 2005 to the end of 2007, the Office of Public Works will have spent approximately €112 million on a wide range of Garda building projects. Last year alone, that Office spent €26 million on Garda Building projects such as Bantry, Ballyshannon, Roscrea, New Ross and Ballina Garda Stations. In addition, a major building programme was completed in the Garda College at a cost of €20m. A wide range of projects are scheduled between now and 2007, which include Kill-O-Grange, Claremorris and Oranmore as well as progressing the 10 stations mentioned by the Deputy. I would refer the Deputy to a reply provided by my colleague Minister of State at the OPW, Tom Parlon, to Deputy O’Keeffe on 16 May last detailing the position regarding the stations referred to (PQ No 8255/06 refers). By way of update, the provision of temporary accommodation is being progressed in Buncrana and over the course of yesterday and today a brief of requirements has been prepared in respect of Ballincollig and Ballinhassig stations.
The Garda Building Programme is progressed on the basis of agreed priorities. A number of the stations referred to by the Deputy form part of an overall list of 40 to 50 Major Capital Works projects that have been prioritised and are being advanced. Others are included in planned refurbishment works and the provision of standard smaller type stations known as “basic units”. It is important to note that progress on the Garda major building programme is achieved by consensus and with the cooperation and commitment of all concerned — the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Garda authorities and Representative Associations and the Office of Public Works from whose Vote the capital works to Garda properties are funded. Indeed, the GRA and other Associations are actively involved and consulted in relation to both the prioritisation of various projects and on the identification of the actual accommodation requirements at each station. Not all the stations referred to by the Deputy are allocated the highest priority on the programme.
I am determined that the Garda Building Programme will be progressed as quickly as possible and that processes will be streamlined as much as possible. In that regard, a new civilian Garda Accommodation Officer is expected to be appointed shortly. Also, the upcoming transfer of Accounting Officer functions to the Garda Commissioner will lead to greater efficiencies as some of the functions currently split between the Gardaí and my Department will transfer to An Garda Síochána.
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