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27/10/2021

Money not approved for multi-million euro Portlaoise Garda Station overhaul that could be job spinner for Laois

laois portlaoise

Portlaoise Garda Station in line for big redevelopment

Agreement has not been reached on multi-million euro proposal to overhaul Portlaoise Garda Station which would bring jobs and gaurantee the the choice of town as the HQ for the new Laois, Offaly Kildare Garda Division.

The Office of Public Works is overseeing the project but the money will have to come out of the Department of Justice budget for Gardaí. Unfortunately, the already delayed project is being further held up as the three entities try to reach an agreement.

The project was included in the 2016-2021 National Development Plan. Two sets of outline plans were drawn up. The first was binned because the Defence Forces wanted a suitable location for soldiers to deploy from to Portlaoise Prison.

A site was agreed but the project remains the of negotiations on money and timescale.

The Leinster Express asked the OPW about the status of funding.

"The funding for the redevelopment of Portlaoise Garda Station and the development of the new Defence Forces building at the Irish Prison Service Training Centre site is subject to ongoing discussions between the relevant parties; the Office of Public Works, Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána," it said.

The Leinster Express also asked if the Garda Station and the new Defence Forces facility had to proceed in tandem. The OPW said agreement has not been reached on this either.

"The redevelopment of Portlaoise Garda Station is a very complex project which requires the refurbishment, extension and alteration of existing buildings, as well as construction of new buildings within the site of the existing Garda Station and in addition, the construction of a new building for the Defence Forces on the Irish Prison Service site. 

"The exact sequencing of this multi-phased project is currently being discussed with the relevant parties; the Office of Public Works, Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána and has yet to be finalised," it said.

The Leinster Express understands that scoping works have been carried out at the station to ascertain the extent of works needed on the building which was constructed in the early 1800s. It is believed to have been built on the site of an old fort. 

The OPW have said a design team has commenced work on the detailed design phase which will involve the extension and refurbishment of the existing Garda Station and custody suite, along with the provision of additional accommodation for An Garda Síochána on the adjacent site currently occupied by the Department of Defence. 

Planning permission for this phase of the project was granted earlier in 2021.

The project also requires the provision of new accommodation for the Department of Defence on the site of the Irish Prison Service (IPS) Training Centre, Portlaoise, which is subject to a planning submission under Part 9 of the Planning and Development Acts 2001 (as amended).  A period of public consultation in relation to this development is currently underway.

The OPW say that following the detailed design and  procurement process, it is expected that a project of this scale will take between 24 and 36 months to construct.

It is hoped that the project will be included in the next National Development Plan.

The Department of Pubic Expenditure and Reform has told Minister of State Sean Fleming that the Gardái list the project as a priority.

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