A PLEA for action on building a new Garda station in Macroom is expected to be made during the Garda Representative Association conference, kicking off this evening.
Speaking as the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association begins in Wexford, West Cork representative Jason Collins said no application has been made for planning permission for the new station.
The new building is to be located beside the town’s new fire station building, and Garda Collins said Cork County Council has already put in an application for permission to develop it.
He is due to speak on the issue on behalf of the accommodation committee of the GRA during a conference motion which calls on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to “immediately ensure that commitments given in relation to new Garda stations are adhered to”.
The second half of the motion calls for debate at the conference on “the appalling conditions of Garda accommodation countrywide and the severe lack of funding for same”.
Garda Collins said health and safety is a big issue for staff in the station — as well as in stations across the county and country.
The plans for a new Garda station for Macroom were announced in October 2015, as part of the An Garda Síochána Building and Refurbishment Programme unveiled by then justice minister, Frances Fitzgerald.
It is to be developed as part of a public-private partnership project which will also include the building of stations for Clonmel in Co Tipperary, and Sligo town.
Although a site has long been secured for the Macroom station, the site for the facility in Sligo was only secured in recent weeks.
The GRA will be taking up the battle for the progression of the three stations, said Garda Collins.
All three projects will go to tender as part of the one programme.
Three years ago, gardaí in Macroom likened the station to “working in third world conditions”.
Although holding cells for suspects were improved, conditions for staff were not, with gardaí sharing toilet facilities with the public.
Gardaí had planned a walkout from the station in 2010 because of overcrowding and concern about conditions in the building, which was built in the late 1800s.
The walkout was averted when steps were made to purchase a new site.
There are more than 40 personnel currently based in the station, including civilian staff.
This week’s conference will be attended by acting commissioner Donal Ó Cualáin and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.