Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
120. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which Military Road was first picked as a likely site for the build of a new headquarters for An Garda Síochána; the date on which this location was selected; the names of the persons that made the final decision to select Military Road; if a consolidated and complete schedule will be provided of other sites that were on the shortlist for same; and if the attention of the OPW was drawn in advance of Military Road being picked that expansion capacity and future proofing were key requirements for An Garda Síochána in terms of the new building. [18002/21]
121. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date on which the OPW and An Garda Síochána became aware the new building at Military Road would be too small to accommodate the full cohort of personnel currently situated at Harcourt Square. [18003/21]
122. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the OPW has identified the location which other personnel who cannot be accommodated in the new Military Road Garda building will be housed; and the annual cost associated with that overspill of accommodation needs. [18004/21]
123. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the completion date for the new headquarters of An Garda Síochána also encompass a full fitout of the building to turn-key standard in view of the fact that OPW has confirmed that the Military Road building will be completed on schedule for September 2022. [18005/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 123, inclusive, together.
An evaluation panel, comprising of senior representatives from Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána and the Office of Public Works was set up in order to assess alternative sites. A very detailed assessment of six sites in Dublin, including Military Road, was undertaken by the evaluation panel. In November 2015, the evaluation panel concluded that, based on the evaluation assessment and the brief of requirements from An Garda Síochána, the site at Military Road was deemed the most suitable.
The numbers of staff being accommodated in the new Garda Security and Crime Operations Centre, Military Road meet the specifications and brief as requested of the OPW at the time the site was selected. However, a range of strategic modernisation initiatives undertaken by the Garda Commissioner in recent years has led to an increase in numbers in the specialist Bureaus and Units attached to Harcourt Square and staffing numbers have increased as a result of the expansion of the Garda workforce.
As part of An Garda Síochána’s overall strategic planning, in addition to the new facility being built at Military Rd, is a relocation of it’s Command and Control Centre (presently in Harcourt Square) to a new facility at Heuston Station, being developed by the National Transport Authority and Irish Rail. This will support a more integrated ‘blue light’ response for the public, and includes Dublin City Council’s blue light requirements.
The overall strategy to meet the requirements of Garda Síochána is constantly under review and include a major upgrade, restoration and refurbishment of its Headquarters in the Phoenix Park and the associated relocation of key Units to this site in order to optimise the accommodation of specialist Garda operations.
For example, Forensic Science Ireland will be vacating Garda HQ from mid-2022 and moving to their new laboratory building in Backweston and another building in Garda HQ is being restored. An existing OPW lease in a nearby building will be available for An Garda Síochána. This will release additional space for An Garda Síochána’s use.
Both the OPW and An Garda Síochána are aware of the impact of a changing workforce on the property solutions currently being advanced. The OPW continues to assist An Garda Síochána in its task in mapping out what it envisages is likely to be its property requirements in the coming years, in line with its workforce plans, insofar as it can anticipate those requirements.
The new Garda Security and Crime Operations Centre building at Military Rd will be fully completed by September 2022. The project is on time and on budget.