Government orders fleet of 170 Garda vehicles in wake of station closures
THE Government has moved to ease fears of a resource crisis in An Garda Siochana in the wake of station closures by ordering 170 vehicles for the force.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has revealed that €3m will be spent on upgrading the fleet with new patrol cars, unmarked cars and vans to be on the road in December and January.
"This is a substantial investment in Garda transport, particularly at a time of severe budgetary constraints," he said.
"In this context, I am conscious of the need to support An Garda Siochana, to the greatest extent possible, in the vital work that they do and I am certain that the delivery and commissioning of 170 new vehicles will enhance the capacity of An Garda Siochana to provide an effective and efficient policing service to communities throughout the country."
Serious concerns have been raised by the Garda Representative Authority (GRA) over officers' ability to police following 39 station closures this year and more threatened for next year and possibly 2014.
The organisation, which represents 11,000 officers, said they were being further hampered in their jobs by a lack of patrol cars.
Fears were highlighted in one instance in Donegal when a woman whose house had been burgled collected a garda from a local station after reporting the crime because he did not have a patrol car to call out.
All the new motors will be supplied by Ford Ireland with the majority patrol vehicles but also a limited number of unmarked cars and vans included in the order.
Garda management will decide allocation of the vehicles.
The Department of Justice said that so far this year 42 new vehicles have been commissioned bringing to 212 the total number added to the force in 2012.