New high-powered Garda fleet to hunt down crime gangs
A new garda motorway patrol unit consisting of high-powered vehicles is to be brought on stream by the end of the year as part of a multi-million euro plan aimed at cracking down on rural crime.
The Government is finally responding to the worsening crime epidemic by signing off on the immediate purchase of more than 200 high-visibility vehicles, the Irish Independent has learned.
Details of the fleet, which will be announced today by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, will be used to target criminal gangs suspected of using the country's motorway network to carry out burglaries and other crimes.
A significant number of the vehicles will also be provided to rural communities which are struggling to cope with a recent spate of horrific break-ins.
Such is the level of fear that leading members of the farming community say landowners will go to whatever lengths are necessary to defend their homes.
Homeowners have reported sleeping with firearms beside their beds, while many country communities say they have lost faith in the ability of gardaí to protect them.
But as part of the Government's package of anti-burglary measures, the Department of Justice has shored up additional cash for more than 200 vehicles.
Sources say the Garda fleet will consist of high -powered Audi Q7 4x4s, motorbikes, 'paddy wagons' and unmarked BMWs for undercover gardaí.
It is believed that over €5m has been approved for the additional Garda cars.