Minister Helen McEntee announces July Jobs Stimulus investment of €24 million to support nationwide projects for An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and the Irish Prison Service

 

 

 

23 July, 2020

 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, today announced additional funding of €24 million across the justice sector for a number of projects which will improve access to justice in Ireland whilst also creating jobs and improving energy efficiency.

 

Investments will go towards modernising, leasing and refurbishing additional space for Garda stations; improving and renovating courts and prisons facilities and improving the energy sustainability of State buildings. An Garda Síochána will receive an additional €11 million, the Irish Prisons Service €8 million and the Courts Service €5 million.

 

The funding will also complement recent initiatives from Minister McEntee and the Courts Service to support permanent reforms that will help improve efficiency throughout the COVID 19 pandemic and beyond.

 

 

Welcoming the July Jobs Stimulus, Minister McEntee said:

 

“The July Jobs Stimulus is a major package from the Government to get people back to work. It will help the economy recover from Covid-19 and will help businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, through this unprecedented crisis. But it also aims to invest in projects across the State which will improve the efficiency of access to public services whilst also providing work in construction, IT and other sectors.

 

“In particular, the new funding from my Department will further support the implementation of the report from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland as well as helping An Garda Síochána move to its new Operating Model. Driving the reforms outlined in the Commission’s report will be one of my main priorities as Minister for Justice.


“Tackling domestic violence is also a priority for me and I am pleased that the funding being made available will continue the rollout of An Garda Síochána’s Divisional Protective Service Units, which deliver a more consistent nationwide approach to the investigation of crime relating to domestic violence, sexual crime, human trafficking and domestic abuse.

 

“Funding is also being made available to allow some building works to begin on new units within Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park.”

 

The Covid-19 pandemic means that a significant backlog of criminal trials has built up and funding is being provided to the Courts Service to lease, fit out and install ICT to allow criminal trials proceed at a number of new locations while observing social distancing.

 

In addition, funding is being made available to renovate the Traffic Court building in Dublin to add additional capacity to court infrastructure. This follows the recent provision of extra funding to the Courts Service to allow the construction of a new family law court at Hammond Lane.

 

Minister McEntee said:

 

“The Courts Service is already modernising access to justice for citizens, but the pandemic provides the opportunity to permanently implement reforms and firmly place the courts on a digital first footing.

 

“While the investment announced today will help address the backlog of criminal trials, the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 approved by Cabinet this week, and which I hope to pass through the Oireachtas by the summer recess, will allow for longer term reform of how the courts operate, such as permitting greater use of remote hearings and electronic filing of documents.”

 

 

ENDS

 

Notes for Editors: Breakdown of total €24 million Department of Justice July Jobs Stimulus funding.

 

 

Courts

  • Criminal Trials – Additional costs for leasing, fit out and basic ICT installation in relation to hosting criminal jury trials to address the backlog following Covid-19 while observing social distancing and national guidelines at a number of new locations in Dublin and nationwide.

 

  • Condition Surveys – Additional costs will be required for the remediation, due to Health & Safety and structural issues, at a number of courthouses, which will need to be addressed in the near future to allow for continued use of the premises. These remediation works will be spread throughout the country and provide a stimulus to the construction sector.  

 

  • Traffic Court – The Traffic Court building is located on Smithfield Square and has been vacant for approximately 20 years. The condition survey carried out in 2019 indicates that significant works will be required immediately to address the defects identified to get this building to an acceptable standard.

 

  • Sustainable Energy Initiatives – A series of small projects can be progressed. As the capability of the unit increases, the number/scale of projects can be increased in future years in tandem with increased funding. It will not be possible for Courts Service to meet its energy targets without dedicated funding to this area.

 

Prisons

 

  • The Irish Prison service has continuous demands for minor/mid-scale refurbishments - security related works (drug throwover/escape prevention etc in addition to nationwide carbon related led lighting replacement (internal/external) and fire alarm upgrading/ replacement. There are also issues with leaking roofs in several locations because of recent severe weather events as well as window replacement/laundry/equipment upgrading requirements.

 

Garda

  • Stations to support the establishment of the Business Services hub under the new Operating model of AGS

 

  • Custody management facilities in stations, (prisoner processing areas and custody CCTV)

 

  • Immigration facilities at Sea Ports and Airports

 

  • Public Office facilities for meeting members of the community, including universal access

 

  • Garda HQ to meet the requirements of new Units being established

 

  • Garda stations to support the establishment of Protective Service Units in a number of Divisions

 

  • Provision of Special Victim Interview Suites

 

The above work will be carried out across a number of Garda divisions, such as Clare, Cork, Laois/Offaly, Donegal, DMR North, Meath, Mayo, Waterford, Kerry and Roscommon/Longford.

 

 

€5 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

€8 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

€11 million