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State spends over €65k this year on Garda stations that will close in 2012

Four of the 31 Garda stations that will close next year have had refurbishment works carried out on them in the past 12 months.

OVER €65,000 HAS been spent on refurbishment works to four Garda stations that will be closed next year, has learned.

Figures released by the Office of Public Works (OPW) show that in total €65,788 worth of work has been carried out on four Garda stations in 2011. They will all close in 2012.

Earlier this month, the government announced that 31 stations will be closed across the country next year following a reduction of €79 million in the force’s budget.

The OPW said it has a duty to maintain the value of the buildings pending a decision on their subsequent use or disposal but Fianna Fáil says the decision to carry out the works “doesn’t make sense”.

The biggest expenditure was on Loughglynn Garda Station in Co Roscommon with windows and roof slates with asbestos replaced as well as new floor tiles installed at a cost of €24,795 so far.

The work is expected to cost a total of €37,750 once completed, the OPW Minister Brian Hayes told the Dáil earlier this month. This would bring total expenditure on these Garda stations that will close to nearly €80,000.

Three other garda stations that will close in 2012 have been the subject of refurbishment works this past year.

In Cootehall Garda Station – also in Co Roscommon – €19, 346 worth of work has been carried out to redirect sewage and install pumps in order meet conditions laid down by the County Council.

In Ballyfeard Garda Station in Killboy, Co Cork, work totalling €5,907 has been carried out on attic insulation, minor roof repair, tree trimming and painting of external doors.

Smithborough Garda Station in Co Monaghan, meanwhile, has seen radon remedial works carried out at a cost of €15,739.

‘Maintain the value’

In addition it was reported in the Evening Herald earlier this month that over €435,000 had been spent on refurbishment work to Whitehall Garda Station in north Dublin which will close next year. The OPW said that this work – mechanical and engineering – was carried out in 2010.

In a statement, the Office of Public Works said: “The decision to close the station is an operational matter for An Garda Siochana.

“As the property will remain in State ownership though no longer operational as a Garda station, OPW has a duty to maintain the value of the asset pending a decision on its subsequent use or disposal.”

However, the Fianna Fáil justice spokesperson Dara Calleary has said that the expenditure does not make sense and said his party was opposed to all proposed Garda station closures.

Calleary told today: “It doesn’t make sense, they’re not going to sell it in the current market. The decision to spend money in September and close it in December is a result of one department not talking to another.

“There are no plans to sell this station and we are opposed to all garda station closures. It doesn’t make any sense to spend money on a State office that you’re planning to decommission.”

The Department of Justice said in a statement: “We understand that the Office of Public Works, which owns the premises, has been carrying out maintenance work to secure the integrity of the building under its remit to take care of the State property portfolio and without reference to any specific Garda requirements.”

An Garda Síochána declined to comment.

Read: Gardaí warn that station closures ‘will change DNA of policing’

Read: 337 Gardaí to retire between December and February

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