Force's ageing fleet is a 'financial time bomb'
THE garda force's ageing vehicle fleet has been described as a "financial time bomb" by the head of the Garda Inspectorate.
Bob Olson told the Government it was facing a disaster over the fleet.
"It's a financial time bomb, just ticking away," he said. "The guards are doing a great job getting the jobs done, in spite of some of the resources they don't have.
"But the vehicle fleet, they've been shuffling them around from urban to rural, which is a smart move to get more mileage out of them.
"But all it means is that they're all going to crash at the same time," Mr Olson added.
His comments were welcomed last night by the rank and file Garda Representative Association, which said he was confirming what its members had been highlighting over the past few years – but their remarks were largely ignored.
A row between the two main garda representative groups and the Department of Justice has been ongoing for the past three years.
Mr Olson told RTE's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' show that he was concerned about the lack of tools available to the gardai.
He was hopeful resources would be found to upgrade systems.
The force "really needs and must have more technology, computer-aided dispatch for the country. They must have a records management system and they need a human resource management system. All of them need to be tied together."
He pointed out that the inspectorate had issued those recommendations and they cost money.
But in the long term those improvements, if introduced, would significantly save on getting more production out of the resources they already had.
He said the inspectorate was looking at the structure of the gardai as part of the Haddington Road Agreement and, following the Guerin Report, was also examining how investigations were carried out.
This followed extensive discussions with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
The force was also now updating what was an "antiquated and untransparent penalty points system," he said.
Mr Olson acknowledged that culture took time to change.
He said all of the information given to the Garda Inspectorate from whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe had been found to be credible.