Government is pressing ahead with construction of an €80m Garda headquarters. It is part of an ambitious, nationwide plan to build and refurbish Garda stations.
Hundreds of millions of euro are being pumped into specialists facilities and a raft of new Garda stations is being built this year, including a €30m station in Sligo town and a €7m station in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Fitzgibbon St Station, in Dublin, is to be reopened at a cost of €8m, with asbestos already being removed.
But the Government is under pressure to build the new Garda headquarters (to house specialists divisions), before the lease on their current Harcourt Square complex expires.
Before the summer, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is due to bring a memo to cabinet on the new, state-of-the art building on Military Road, close to Heuston Station. It will house specialist units of the gardaí, such as the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau, the Emergency Response Unit, and the garda command and communications infrastructure.
OPW Minister Sean Canney said plans for the Garda headquarters are “advanced” and the multi-storey development would be purpose-built. “You have all of the very, very sensitive units based there, and you have all of the intelligence that they would have, and that needs to be in a place where you don’t have to move it again,” he said.
“You have a situation where we are now paying €6m a year,” he said of the rented Garda headquarters at Harcourt Square. Last year, the Government secured a final, six-year lease extension, so they must have alternative accommodation when that expires.
A spokesman for Ms Fitzgerald said the negotiated lease on Harcourt Square removes the “immediate need” to leave the complex, but added that the development of the new HQ is a “priority” for the justice minister.
“A site has been identified, on which the new facility [will be built]. Discussions are going on between the OPW and An Garda Síochána to finalise the brief for the facility,” the spokesman said.
Separately, hundreds of millions of euro are being pumped into specialists facilities, such as the garda water unit, in Athlone, numerous Protection of Evidence and Materials (PEMs) facilities, and significant refurbishments.
New Garda stations will be provided in Glanmire, Co Cork, and at Bailieborough, Co Cavan, through direct exchequer funding. Three Garda stations will be built in in Sligo, Macroom, and Clonmel, by means of Public Private Partnership.
In addition, €100m has been spent on new divisional headquarters in Kevin Street, Dublin, and Wexford, and on a new, regional headquarters in Galway, all of which are due to open later this year.
Mr Canney said that, after 10 years of “stagnation”, there is now a massive need to invest in Garda stations and other public buildings.
“We have a huge package of work to carry out this year... and it’s not just gardaí... the other thing we are looking after is the courts service and the maintenance of the courts, rebuilding, refurbishing of the courts.”
Outline of building programme
Garda Station Building and Refurbishment Programme
Planned new garda stations
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