Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan officially opens new Garda Headquarters of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) & South Central Division at Kevin Street
30 August 2018
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today, alongside Acting Garda Commissioner Donall Ó Cualáin, opened the new Kevin Street Garda Station, Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) South Central Divisional Headquarters, in an event attended by Minister of State at the Office of Public Works Kevin “Boxer” Moran and representatives from the local area including community and civil society groups and members of An Garda Síochána.
Kevin Street Garda Station is one of three major new Garda Regional and Divisional Headquarters recently completed. An Garda Síochána indicate that approximately 220 persons including both Garda and Civilian personnel will be based in this station.
The other two major new completed Garda HQ developments are at Wexford (September 2017), and at Galway (July 2018). The construction of these three regional and divisional headquarters involved Exchequer funding of over €100 million.
These state-of-the-art facilities represent a major investment in Garda infrastructure and will significantly assist An Garda Síochána both in continuing to provide a professional policing service in their regions and in the delivery of the Modernisation and Renewal Programme.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Flanagan referred to the symbolism of the new state of the art building and its importance in the Garda estate, saying: “The contemporary building design reflects the public face of the Gardaí as a modern police service and represents a new phase in the relationship between the Gardaí and the city. Approximately 140 Garda members and civilian staff are already based here in Kevin Street with another 80 or so additional staff to arrive in late September including newly promoted Sergeants, Inspectors, and Garda and Civilian staff for the Divisional Policing Model (DPM) staff and Scenes of Crime Personnel.”
The Minister also referred to the Government’s ongoing investment in the Garda estate, saying: “We are now seeing the results of the unprecedented public funding provided to An Garda Síochána in recent years. In addition to the 3 top-quality regional and divisional headquarters completed in Galway, Wexford and Dublin, significant progress is now also being made by the Office of Public Works, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, in the wider Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme. For example, cell upgrade works have already been completed at 80 Garda stations”.
Minister Flanagan noted that the opening of the new DMR South Central Headquarters at Kevin Street was taking place at a time of major reform and investment, which will redefine our national police service as an organisation. He said “As we approach the centenary of the establishment of An Garda Síochána, we are in fact about to turn the page to a new phase for this fine organisation. The appointment of a new Commissioner, and one who comes from a different police service, albeit one that works closely with the Gardaí, is significant and I hope will enrich the organisation. The impending completion of the work of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, will chart a new model for Irish policing in the decades ahead and will challenge us all to deliver a new vision for policing in Ireland.”
Minister Flanagan outlined the progress in implementing the Government’s plan to introduce an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 comprised of 15,000 Gardaí, 4,000 civilians and 2,000 Reserves. Almost 2,000 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. This investment resulted in a net increase of over 600 Gardaí last year. This year a further 800 new Garda recruits will enter the Garda College and the strength of the Service will reach 14,000 by the end of the year.
The Minister emphasised his commitment to the civilianisation programme and highlighted the importance of the Garda Reserve saying: “As Minister for Justice and Equality, I am particularly committed to the civilianisation programme which aims to ensure that administrative functions are carried out by skilled professional civilians to in turn free up sworn members to deploy their training, expertise and experience to what they do best – policing our communities. Over 290 new civilian staff have been sanctioned in the last 18 months and so far over 110 Gardaí have been redeployed to policing. This is a welcome start but there is a lot more work to be done to fully realise our ambitious plans. I know the Commissioner has a dedicated project team in place to drive the redeployment programme while ensuring that it is done in a manner that is fair to all. And I very much welcome that. There are also plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new reserves expected to start training this year.”
Minister Flanagan also took the opportunity to thank Acting Commissioner Ó Cualáin for his service, in advance of his imminent retirement, thanking him “for the many years of dedicated service you have given to the public and the State and for the steady and effective leadership shown in most challenging times”. Addressing Acting Commissioner Ó Cualáin, Minister Flanagan stated: “You and your team have led An Garda Síochána to significant successes in targeting and disrupting the abhorrent activities of criminal gangs over the past year. You have also made progress on the challenging reform agenda, and this weekend, as you pass on the baton to incoming Commissioner Drew Harris, we wish you a happy and well-deserved retirement and many happy years with your family and friends.”
Notes for editors
The Office of Public Works (OPW) Architectural Services team led by State Architect Ciaran O’Connor designed the new DMR South Central Headquarters at Kevin Street.
The building has an overall area of 12,240 square metres, consisting of five storeys over a two level basement. It fulfils other much needed modern standards of major operational facilities for the Gardaí within the city. The new building will provide:
- Infrastructure for Gardaí training and development with state-of-art facilities
- Prisoner 24/7 detention facility
- Archive quality PEMS evidence store
- Major Incident Rooms
- Other specialist facilities
- Public office
The contemporary building design reflects the public face of the Gardaí as a modern police force and represents a new modern phase in the relationship between the Gardaí and the city. It is designed as a civic quality building responding to the specific site context of its historic surroundings. The building is energy efficient and sustainable with universal access for all.
It will provide fit for purpose twenty first century facilities replacing the out of date and inefficient facilities and will mark a big step forward in the qualities of operational facilities for the Gardaí in Dublin City.
The building is arranged in linear blocks of accommodation either side of an atrium space. It reinstates the street line along Bride Street with a five-storey building opposite the seven-storey National Archive building. The five-storey curved block steps down in a series of steps to become two storey adjacent to the existing Garda station, the former medieval Archbishops Palace, thereby responding in scale to these important historic buildings.
The important Kevin Street junction is acknowledged by expressing the central atrium space on that façade. The public entrance is located at this point. The atrium serves as the main vertical and horizontal circulation space within the building. It also provides for natural ventilation to all offices along with natural air extraction and allows daylight to penetrate into the building.
The OPW was responsible for the Architectural, Project Management and Fire and Security elements of the project, with Civil and Structural consultants Atkins, and Mechanical and Electrical consultants Varming. The main contractor was J.J. Rhatigan & Company.