Naas Garda Station
An estimated €3m upgrade to Naas Garda Station, which is due to start in the coming months, has been hailed as a vote of confidence in local policing and in the town.
Despite uncertainty over government spending due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the OPW confirmed that the contract for the works will be awarded later this year.
A new Property Exhibits Management Store (PEMS) will form a major part of the refurbishment to the facility on the Kilcullen Road. The Store will house and itemise valuable exhibits used in the prosecution of offences in court.
Also included in the works will be an upgrade of kitchen facilities, a new floor covering in the Public Office, alterations to the Communications Room as well as external maintenance works.
An OPW spokesperson said: “The Capital Investment Plan for An Garda Siochána 2016-2021, provides for funding for the provision of Property Exhibits Management Stores (PEMS) at several locations, including Naas Garda Station which has been identified as the preferred location for the Kildare Garda Division.
“It’s believed a Design Team has been appointed and preliminary surveys are ongoing.
“Once completed, tender documentation will be prepared and it is envisaged that a contract will be awarded in 2020.”
News of progress of the development in Naas is a relief as many feared the local garda station would lose its prestige due to the amalgamation of the Kildare Division with the Offaly/ Laois Division and the relocation of the HQ from Naas to Portlaoise.
Welcoming progress on the development, Cllr Fintan Brett said: “There has been a lot of great work done in the community policing/ Covid-19 area over the past two months in Naas and I hope that the upgrade of facilities allows that to continue in the coming months no matter what happens with the public health response in relation to Covid-19.
“I hope there is also extra space to accommodate more trainee gardaí from Templemore as this needs to continue because they have a very valuable role in assisting policing in Naas and especially as Garda numbers in the Division have been historically low in the past.”
Welcoming the investment, Cllr Carmel Kelly said local gardaí had won a lot of public goodwill over policing of Covid-19 measures.
Cllr Evie Sammon said she was relieved the development is making progress as there will be extra scrutiny around budgets in every department given the financial cost of the public health emergency.
She said: “It’s definitely good news that work is ongoing and that plans are being made to award the contract.”
Senator Fiona O’Loughlin said the investment is a vote of confidence in the work carried out by local gardai in Naas.
She said: “While obviously disappointed that a county the size of Kildare is without a divisional HQ, I welcome investments to support the vital work that our gardaí do.”
She added she would like to see funding for reopening garda stations in Ballymore Eustace and Ballitore.