‘Meagre’price for 43 garda stations

‘Meagre’price for 43 garda stations

By Elaine Loughlin and Daniel McConnell

The Government has made a “meagre” €3.29m from the sale of 43 former garda stations. The State has sold these former garda stations off for an average of just €76,697 in recent years.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) received only €6,000 for one station in Crossakiel, Co Meath, while the most valuable station proved to be the one on Mallow Rd in Cork, which was sold for €260,000.

OPW Minister Kevin Boxer Moran has confirmed that his department sold 43 former Garda stations since 2014 for a total of €3.29m.

Of these, six were sold for less than €20,000 and a further eight were bought for between €20,000 and €50,000. Just two of the 43 stations achieved a sale price of more than €200,000.

If the former station is not needed by the State, the OPW does consider donating the property to community groups on the basis that there will be no further costs to the exchequer.

However, it is understood that the OPW is concerned that many community groups will not be in a position to take over the buildings due to the high cost of insurance.

In 2013, An Garda Síochána announced the closure of 139 garda stations; 40 of those earmarked at that time have been sold, while a further three have been sold separately. Others have been handed over to community groups while six are rescheduled to open again.

Fifty-one former stations have not been sold or repurposed and the OPW has now been requested not to dispose of any further closed garda stations pending the outcome of two reviews, the first of which identified six sites for reopening.

“This second review, carried out by the Garda Inspectorate, was published in December 2018,” said an OPW spokesperson. “Following the publication of the review, the OPW and An Garda Síochána engaged in discussions to determine the future use of the former Garda stations.

“Following these discussions, An Garda Síochána advised the OPW in May 2019 that 47 of the 51 former Garda stations are surplus to requirements. The OPW is now processing these 47 properties in accordance with its disposal policy.”

Social Democrat TD for Kildare North Catherine Murphy said some of the buildings have been sold off for “meagre” sums and called on the OPW to fully engage with local communities groups before putting properties on the market.

“The disposal, for want of a better word, of a State asset is something that must be given a thorough evaluation,” she said. “Some of the stations have been sold off for what are fairly meagre sums if you stand them up against property valuations nationally over the past number of years.”

A spokesperson for the OPW said that when looking at these properties, if no State requirement is identified, or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property, the OPW “may consider community involvement, subject to detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community/ voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain, and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the exchequer”.

Ms Murphy said there must be a greater effort made to work with community groups when decisions are made to sell these properties.

“The benefit to the State cannot be based purely on the financial aspects,” she said. “There’s social, cultural, and educational benefits to retaining some of the stations for new uses. We can see that illustrated with Valentia Island, Barrack St in Cork, and Whitehall in Dublin.”

Ten closed stations have been repurposed and are back in use by the State, while a further nine have been licenced to community groups. This includes the station on Barrack St in Cork, which is now open to the public as part of the popular Elizabeth Fort tourist experience.

More on this topic

All aboard for a fun-filled family trip to France on the ferryAll aboard for a fun-filled family trip to France on the ferry

Irish star Buckley on Variety’s ‘10 to watch’ listIrish star Buckley on Variety’s ‘10 to watch’ list

Portuguese fishing boat detained until €150k bond paidPortuguese fishing boat detained until €150k bond paid

Over €50,000 worth of cannabis seized in Co GalwayOver €50,000 worth of cannabis seized in Co Galway

More in this Section

60 years of policing cooperation with UK will ‘fall away’ after no-deal Brexit60 years of policing cooperation with UK will ‘fall away’ after no-deal Brexit

Stormont vacuum ‘a problem’ in fight against dissidents, PSNI chief warnsStormont vacuum ‘a problem’ in fight against dissidents, PSNI chief warns

Spike Island and Cliffs of Moher shortlisted for World's Best Attraction awardSpike Island and Cliffs of Moher shortlisted for World's Best Attraction award

All Together Now promoters 'truly sorry' for traffic chaos at festivalAll Together Now promoters 'truly sorry' for traffic chaos at festival


Lifestyle

A parent coach says parents are often the best judge of how to care for their baby – and explains how they can learn to have faith in their intuition.Ask an expert: How can I know what’s best for my baby?

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 23, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

Romantic florals to 1970s chic, fun femininity to gothic grunge —we showcase the top autumn/winter looks at Brown Thomas, with a focus on the most exciting and diverse designer labels.Coming at you: The top autumn/winter looks at Brown Thomas

RP O’Donnell says it is hard to find anywhere better than Boston to show your family a great time as he returns to a city he used to call homeA family friendly holiday guide to get the best out of beautiful Boston

More From The Irish Examiner