Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, including responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations. As Minister, I have no role in the matter.
Indeed, this was the basis on which the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was developed and implemented, resulting in the closure of some 139 Garda stations, including Rush Garda station. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the closures have allowed front line Garda to be managed and deployed with greater mobility, greater flexibility and in a more focused fashion particularly with regard to various targeted police operations.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to a pilot scheme to reopen 6 Garda stations, both urban and rural, to determine possible positive impacts that such openings will have on criminal activity, with special emphasis on burglaries, theft and public order.
The Garda Commissioner has recently submitted his final report in relation to this matter. The report contains a recommendation that Rush Garda station be one of the six Garda stations to be included in the pilot, along with stations at Ballinspittle, Co. Cork, Bawnboy, Co.Cavan, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow, Donard, Co. Wicklow, and Stepaside, Co. Dublin.
It is my intention to bring the report before Government shortly.
I understand that the Commissioner has written to the Office of Public Works to progress the matter.
It is understood that the timeframe for reopening the stations concerned is dependent on a number of factors, including the brief of requirements from An Garda Síochána, the extent of the required refurbishment, based on current building regulations, the need to comply with fire regulations and to provide disability access. There are also agreed standards and specifications for Garda cell areas and custody suites which would have to be incorporated into the refurbishment.
Once the specification has been agreed, the works will go to tender and will commence when the procurement process has been finalised.