Monday 18 December 2017

Revealed: The Department of Justice 'shopping list' includes new HQ, helicopters and garda station

Shopping list includes new Garda aircraft, including helicopters. Stock picture
Shopping list includes new Garda aircraft, including helicopters. Stock picture
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Department of Justice 'shopping list' for gardaí includes requests for funding for major projects like a new headquarters for key units, the reopening of a Dublin station and new helicopters.

Additional funding needed for gardaí and wider justice sector has been set out in a briefing prepared for new Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Officials have sent details of extra funding requirements between 2018 and 2021 to the Department of Public Expenditure, which is in the process of preparing its mid-term capital plan review.

The Justice document sets out how gardaí need, among other items, funding for:

  • A new headquarters for key Garda units in Dublin;
  • New Garda aircraft, including helicopters;
  • Planned developments at Templemore Training College.

The planned new Garda headquarters in Dublin has previously been estimated to cost €80m and is to house units like the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), which is currently located in Harcourt Street.

The briefing notes that the non-renewable lease on the current premises concludes in December 2022 and there is a "significant financial penalty clause if the property cannot be vacated on this date".

€117m: Recruitment of members, training needs, uniforms, body armour and overtime. Stock picture
€117m: Recruitment of members, training needs, uniforms, body armour and overtime. Stock picture

It is said to be a "priority" in the department's submission to the Public Expenditure Department.

A submission has also been made for €8.5m in funding for the reopening of Fitzgibbon Street garda station on Dublin's northside.

The reopening of the station formed part of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny's drive to support the capital's North Inner City amid the ongoing gang war.

A department spokesman said gardaí and the Office of Public Works are continuing to engage on the project in advance of the funding decision so the development can proceed "as quickly as possible".

€46m: Garda fleet of vehicles. Stock image
€46m: Garda fleet of vehicles. Stock image

Funding is also said to have been required for Ireland's involvement in the Schengen Information System (SIS II), which is a European border security and law enforcement database.

The part-redacted document does not give details of the number or type of aircraft sought by gardaí, nor the nature of the developments planned for Templemore Training College, which has been at the centre of controversy over issues with its finances.

The overall sum for Garda funding needs for the remainder of the Government's Capital Plan is redacted and the department declined to give the figure last night.

However, the briefing does list a series of sums for measures sought over the full five-year duration of the Government's Capital Plan, which began in 2016.

That includes €60m in Exchequer funding along with PPP involvement for the Garda Station Building and Refurbishment Programme for 30 locations around the country.

Garda requirements in 2018 for an accelerated recruitment programme, training needs, uniforms, body armour and overtime comes to €117m.

The Capital Plan provides €46m for investment in the Garda fleet of vehicles. A total of 874 vehicles have been provided over the last two years and €4m has been provided for purchases this year. Some €330m is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 including €205m under the Capital Plan.

A Justice spokesman last night said a decision on the amount of funding available to meet the requirements for gardaí - as set out in the submission to the Department of Public Expenditure - is expected in advance of Budget 2018.

Irish Independent

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