The new €9m Garda station for Athlone has moved a step closer by going to tender.
The project, which was supposed to get underway more than a year ago, will combine the existing station with the former social welfare office adjacent to it. It is estimated that the works will take two years to complete and will be done on a phased basis so that the station can stay open.
Minister of State at the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, says this initial tender phase is just the first step in the process, but that he hopes work can commence before Christmas this year.
“It has gone out to tender this week, but it still has to come back in July and then go out to a second tender process for the main contractor,” Minister Moran said. “But I am hopeful that we will see work begin just prior to Christmas. I know some works have been done in terms of the gas network and things like that over the summer months.
“It is a top priority of mine, and I will deliver on it. What I want to do is get a new state-of-the-art station in there. The €8.8m is ring-fenced for the job, so hopefully we will see it started by the end of the year.”
The news has been welcomed by Fine Gael Senator Gabrielle McFadden.
“I am delighted to hear this news as this was one of the key issues I fought for when I was a TD,” Senator McFadden said. “I was successful in getting funding allocated to it back in October, 2015, with both Minister Harris in the Office of Public Works and Minister Fitzgerald in Justice supporting my campaign.
“To see a project that you have worked so hard to achieve going to tender is a source of great personal satisfaction. It brings closer the day that a new Garda station will open in Athlone and underlines the commitment of the Government to properly resourced policing and to the people of the greater Athlone area.”