Garda body says car loss affecting policing


THE ASSOCIATION representing rank-and-file gardaí has claimed policing capacity is being affected by the non-replacement of Garda vehicles.

The Garda Representative Association, which represents more than 12,000 members of the 14,500-strong force, said at least one Garda vehicle was being taken out of the fleet each week because its mileage rendered it unsafe.

Association president John Parker said as many as 80 vehicles would be decommissioned this year. The “grounding” of Garda cars meant there were fewer gardaí patrolling in vehicles and reaching outlying areas in Garda districts around the State.

“The capacity to cover outlying areas has been seriously reduced,” he said.

He said the GRA was not “crying wolf”, pointing out that by the end of this year 580 Garda vehicles will have been decommissioned since 2009.

There was no noticeable excess of vehicles in 2009, meaning the Garda could not afford to lose such a significant number of vehicles, he said. Policing was being compromised as a result.

“We have a national crisis and the man on the ground will tell you the same,” he said.

In many districts, once the sole Garda car available was called out to an incident there was no other vehicle in the area to respond to emergency calls.

“We have to call in patrol cars from the next station, with ensuing delays of 20 minutes, half an hour and so on, depending on where you are,” he said.

The fact that his members did not have the basic “tools of the trade” such as Garda vehicles was having a demoralising impact on rank-and-file gardaí, he said.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said it had been assured by Garda senior management that the force was well resourced to carry out its duties.