Refurbishment of Portlaoise Garda Station looks to be behind schedule

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

garda laois

Kevin Boxer Moran announcing the invite of tenders for Longford Garda Station's refurbishment.

A long-promised refurbishment of the Laois Offaly Garda HQ remains a promise in a Government plan with no costs or definite plans for the work that has to be done to bring it up to standard.

A year since Laois TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan officially announced the project the Office of Public Works confirmed that plans are not so advanced for Portlaoise. At the time he hoped work would begin in 2018 on the building which was built more than 200 years ago.

It said the programme for the refurbishment of Garda accommodation is managed and progressed by the An Garda Síochána working in close co-operation with the OPW.

The OPW said the Portlaoise Garda station project is included in the Garda Capital Investment Programme 2016-2021, which is  described as an "ambitious" five year Programme based on agreed priorities established by An Garda Síochána that would benefit over thirty locations around the country.

The OPW said itself and the Gardí are engaging on developing plans with a view to providing a major upgrade to the facilities available at the existing Garda Station in Portlaoise.

"As discussions are still ongoing with An Garda Síochána, it is not possible at this stage to give timeframes for the procurement process for contractors.

"As the tender process has not yet commenced for this project, it would not be prudent to disclose estimated costings at this time," said the OPW.

A former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell promised that Portlaoise would get a new station but this pledge never materialised. 

Piecemeal work has been carried out over the years in effort to keep the building fit for purpose for both gardaí and the public.

Last July Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan TD confirmed 'a significant upgrade and refurbishment' of the Garda Station.

The Fine Gael TD for Laois said that the Garda authorities and OPW will work in close cooperation on the project.

“It is expected that the first phase of works will commence on site in 2018, with further work to take place after this. I look forward to work beginning on this important project in Portlaoise," he said.

This week Kevin “Boxer” Moran, Minister of State with special responsibility for the OPW and Flood Relief was in Longford Garda Station to announce that tenders are to be sought by the OPW for works to Longford Garda Station.

The Longford works will be undertaken in two Phases.  The first phase will include the construction of a new cell block, custody suite and ancillary accommodation. The second phase will consist of a new Property Evidence Management Store.

It is estimated that the work will cost €2 million. It serves as the HQ for the Longford Roscommon Division.