Wexford's new garda headquarters to become a reality at last
AFTER years of planning and a number of false starts, the first bricks are soon to be laid at Wexford's €25 million Garda Headquarters.
Contracts were signed at the Talbot Hotel on Friday afternoon (July 3) with Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and Minister Brendan Howlin present to underpin the start of what will become one of the most prominent new civic buildings in Wexford town.
Work is to begin 'imminently' on the 4,000 metre complex at the W.B. Nunn mill site on the Mulgannon Road, with Minister Howlin getting a promise from the Limerick-based Duggans contractors awarded the two-year job, that they will employ local tradesmen.
Minister Howlin and County Council chairman Cllr. Tony Dempsey said the gardai in Wexford had for too long had to endure substandard conditions at a barracks that was no longer fit for purpose.
'We've been waiting a very long time for this day. I would like to thank the gardai for their forbearance in operating out of sub-standard conditions for a very long time,' said the minister.
Commissioner O'Sullivan told this newspaper the new headquarters would meet the needs of a modern, professional garda organisation and would become an integral part of the communinity, enabling people to better interact with the gardai.
And she said that with the moratorium on new members of the gardai being appointed lifted and increasing numbers going through Templemore, Wexford could expect more officers to be posted as graduates came out of the garda training college.
She said the gardai placed huge emphasis ensuring the victims of crime were dealt with in a professional way and the new headquarters would be geared towards.
The new headquarters will rise to five storeys at its highest point and will include a reception area and office, conference, training and event management facilities and accomodation for victim support. Prisoner processing and custody areas with ancillary support areas are contained within a single storey bloc to the rear. The new station will also support garda operations at Rosslare Harbour.
Minister Howlin made the point that gardai stationed at the new headquarters will have as neighbours the very progressive Mary's GAA club, the presence of which was already helping transform an area of the town that had in the past been blighted by anti-social behaviour.
He paid tribute to the former council for its role in finding an alternative site to that originally selected by the OPW for the new headquarters on the Rosslare Road, which he said had been a 'bad decision', and to Chief Superintendent John Roche and his colleagues in helping locate a site that would best serve the needs of the town.
No decision has been made on what to do with the old station. Cllr. Dempsey described it as 'an embarrasment'.