Minister's remarks on resources are 'a farce'
GARDAI yesterday accused Justice Minister Dermot Ahern of making "farcical" remarks in claiming our police force is the best resourced in Europe.
They claimed the minister was clearly out of touch with reality and highlighted the lack of garda students in training, poor accommodation and a run-down fleet of patrol cars.
The attack on Mr Ahern came at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association in Limerick yesterday when delegates unanimously backed a motion condemning him for his failure to provide adequate resources to the force.
Delegate Ultan Sherlock, who is based at Stepaside station in Dublin, said the garda training centre in Templemore was being left idle with no students, and asked what other police force in Europe would be put in that position.
He said Mr Ahern's comments about resources were also rendered "farcical" by the state of garda accommodation. He described the station in Macroom, Co Cork, as a "hovel" and said these deplorable conditions were being replicated at stations across the country.
Mr Sherlock also drew attention to the dire state of the garda fleet and claimed that his colleagues were being forced to drive patrol cars with between 200,000 and 300,000 miles on their clocks.
Those cars might be fit for "ordinary driving" but not for police duties, he added.
And Ray Wims, from Carrick-on-Shannon, said a number of gardai in his Sligo-Leitrim division were being forced to borrow patrol cars from other districts even though they were promised new vehicles more than two years ago.