Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
The Minister of State, Deputy Moran, is very welcome. We are here to talk about Rush Garda station once again. I have been raising this matter constantly over the past couple of years. Rush is a town in north County Dublin and it has a population of approximately 10,000. It is growing rapidly. Its Garda station was closed in early 2012, causing great disappointment and shock among the people of the town and surrounding area. The surrounding towns - Lusk, Skerries and Donabate - are also expanding rapidly so there is a great need for better and more frequent policing in the area.The closure of Rush Garda station came as a blow to the town. The people of Rush demanded it be reopened and in November 2017, it was announced it would be one of the Garda stations to be reopened following a period of refurbishment and upgrading.
We were told the refurbishment and upgrading would be complete by the end of July 2019 and the Garda station would move from the hands of the Office of Public Works, OPW, to those of An Garda Síochána, which would be responsible for staffing and opening it. We were then told it would happen at the end of September of this year, but it is now the middle of December and Rush Garda station has still not reopened. It has been refurbished and looks great from the outside. The works were ongoing for a number of months and people want to know what is causing the hold-up, why the refurbishment appears to have stalled and why the station has not been handed over. Has the work been done and will the station be handed over soon? If so, when will it reopen?
The programme for Government outlined the reopening on a pilot basis of six closed Garda stations in various parts of the country, including Rush Garda station in County Dublin. A brief of requirements for Rush Garda station was received from An Garda Síochána in early 2018. The OPW undertook an assessment of all stations identified in the pilot programme of stations reopening, based on the Garda brief of requirements received. The OPW undertook a technical survey of the station and building condition reports were completed. In April 2018, the OPW advised An Garda Síochána on the works required and the indicative costs involved.
In July 2018, the OPW received confirmation from the Department of Justice and Equality that funding was available and conveyed instructions to proceed with the implementation of the reopening of the six pilot Garda stations, including that in Rush. Following the procurement process, work on the site commenced in August 2019 and was due to be completed by the end of September 2019. The contract completion date was extended by agreement to 25 October 2019, due to delays in the delivery of installation of new external doors and windows.
In recent weeks, the ESB connection was reactivated. The works requirements were submitted to the ESB and are being scheduled in accordance with the ESB workload. It is hoped the execution of the works will take place in the near future. All other works have finished, and the handover of the building to An Garda Síochána will take place as soon as the ESB connection has been completed. The exact date for the opening of the station will be an operational matter for An Garda Síochána.
It is good to hear that just one job is outstanding. While I accept that the Minister of State does not know the exact date on which the ESB connection work will begin, will he outline how long he expects it to take?
Given that everything has been agreed, it is just a matter of the ESB getting on to the ground. I hope the station will be handed over soon, ideally before the end of the year. A great deal of wonderful work has taken place, as the Senator rightly noted, but sometimes the work is out of our control and in the hands of contractors. The ESB, in particular, has an overload of work but it has given a commitment to being on site as soon as possible.