Overcrowding crisis at Tallaght Garda Station
Tallaght Garda station is so overcrowded that prisoners on long-term detention have to be taken to Clondalkin to shower and cells are being used for storage.
The current station was built 21 years ago (a time when Tallaght was still a village) to house 60 staff, but there are now over 190 gardai accommodated at the station.
The Garda Review magazine recently reported on conditions at the station where overcrowding is a serious problem. Of the six cells there, one is being used to store exhibits, while Gardai also have nowhere to file reports or type statements and have to speak to members of the public in formal interview rooms.
The station is due to get divisional status under the 2008 Policing Plan, but according the Garda Review, it does not have the facilities to deal with current policing issues as it stands and has no room for much needed extra gardai. Tallaght Garda Station serves a district with a population greater than Limerick, yet has less gardai. Limerick with a population of 90,778 (according to 2006 figures) has 475 gardai, while just 248 Gardai in Tallaght serve a district with a population of around 180,000 people.
Plans for an enlarged Garda Station on the same site beside the Square shopping centre have been mooted since 2002, but are still at the same stage they were six years ago despite reassurances from Garda Authorities and the Government that building will start soon. The Office of Public Works (OPW) announced it is currently undertaking a feasibility study on the Tallaght Garda Station site, although two such studies were carried out in 2002 and 2004. (A feasibility study is one of the earliest stages in a planning process, which determines the viability of a site for a proposed construction.)
In 2004, Tom Parlon, then Minister of State for Finance stated that a feasibility study on the site had been completed and that: “The Commissioners of Public Works have decided that the site will be offered for sale on the open market on condition that the purchaser constructs a new Garda station on a designated part of the site.” The minister also said that the station would “fully address all Garda requirements in Tallaght.... It is expected that the new station will be available by the end of 2006.” However, these plans have not been furthered.
In January of this year the Department of Justice gave assurances that the station would soon be expanded, stating that “sketch schemes” to accommodate an enlarged Garda Station would be complete by May and submitted to the Garda Authorities for approval.