Funding is not yet guaranteed
THE FUNDING for Wexford town's proposed new Garda Station is not secure, according to the OPW, though it is third on their priority list in terms of national projects, giving it every chance of going ahead.
OPW Commissioner John McMahon and Assistant Principal Architect Ciarán O'Connor attended the most recent meeting of Wexford's Joint Policing Committee (JPC) to discuss the project and present provisional plans for the new build at Roxborough.
Mr McMahon said that he hopes the project will go to tender ' this time next year', with Wexford's new divisional HQ third in the queue behind projects at Kevin Street in Dublin (which will be Ireland's biggest Garda Station) and a divisional HQ on the outskirts of Galway city.
He told the JPC members he can't guarantee the funding, but that one third of the OPW's budget is spent on providing Garda Stations and they are proceeding on the assumption that the funds for Wexford's new station will be there.
Mr McMahon said, if the funding is there, then they expect the two-year build to commence at the beginning of 2012 and finish at the end of 2013.
Chief Superintendent John Roche said there has been 'extensive negotiation and discussion' with Garda reps in his station. He said all their suggestions have been taken on board and a number of amendments made. 'It will meet all our needs,' he said.
Mr O'Connor said the station, over 6,400 square metres in size and ranging from one storey to five, will be a 'new generational' divisional HQ for the Gardaí in Wexford. 'It's a civic building, not just a barracks,' he said. There will be no hatches like the one inside the front door of the out of date Roche's Road station, instead there will be a public atrium with reception desks.
There will be a huge range of facilities currently unavailable at Roche's Road, with an abundance of Garda administration areas, cells, interview rooms, a telecommunications area and an evidence store. The new station, Mr O'Connor said, will give Gardaí the option of '24/7 detention' of prisoners and there will be a facility to provide those detained with exercise.
The A-rated building will have solar collectors which will heat the station's water for 80 per cent of the year, cutting down on energy bills, and there will be parking for 180 cars – again all a far cry for the current situation, with officers, the public and prisoners all dealing in cramped and out-dated facilities.