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Saturday 16 December 2017

Scores of garda drivers lose plum job

ine Kerr

UP to 50 garda drivers, who were on average salaries of €77,000, will now have to be redeployed within the force to take up "regular duties".

There are 56 garda state car drivers working on a week-on/week-off roster, at a cost of €4.5m every year in wages. Up to an additional 20 gardai are relief drivers and cover shifts when full-time drivers take holidays or are ill.

The Garda press office did not respond to questions about the next role for these gardai, their entitlements and the numbers due to retire.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter would only say it was a matter for the Garda Commissioner to make decisions as to how to "redeploy members of the force".

The commissioner will now have a few weeks to consider how to redeploy gardai, Mr Shatter said.

A statement from the Taoiseach's office said a "substantial number" of gardai would return to "regular duties". It is understood that some of the gardai are near retirement. Those who drive ministers' cars are armed detectives who double as bodyguards.

In the past, opposition parties have branded them "chauffeurs for ministers", saying they could be better utilised within the force. Being a ministerial driver is considered one of the plum jobs in the force because of the overtime on offer and the time off in lieu.

Irish Independent

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