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Garda car breaks down on way to murder scene

A GARDA car rushing to the scene of the capital's latest gangland murder broke down in heavy traffic.

IN bizarre scenes, members of the public had to help a detective push the "crocked" car off the busy road just minutes after Gintaras Zelvys (was shot dead.

Sources say that the clutch and gearbox failed in the official 2004 vehicle just as the garda was responding to reports of the shooting.

Rank and file gardai have long complained about the condition of the aging fleet of patrol cars.

By chance, a detective colleague of the garda in the stricken car arrived on the scene of the breakdown and was able to drive them both to the scene of the murder of Gintaras Zelvys (left).

The Herald has learned that the detective was responding to a frantic 999 call and was rushing to the Greenogue Industrial Estate with sirens and lights activated on his car when it broke down.

Criminal Gintaras Zelvys (43) had just been gunned down at 9.30am.

However, as the detective tried to get to the scene, and overtook a line of traffic and drove around a roundabout at Fitzmaurice Road, Rathcoole, his car "died".

An eye-witness said: "The car was left stranded on the road so some of the people that the detective had overtaken then got out of their cars to help him push it off the road."

Then another detective from Rathcoole Garda Station, who was driving into work in his own vehicle, came across the scene. After seeing his colleague stranded at the side of the road, he collected him and they drove to the murder scene.

Size

A source said: "This would be comical if it were not so very serious – it shows just how crocked a lot of the cars in the garda fleet are. The gear box and clutch just went in that car – but it is no surprise, the car has had problems in the past.

"This is typical of what is going on – there are too many absolute bangers in operation."

It is understood that the car is around nine years old and has clocked up well over 200,000 kilometres.

At this week's Garda Representative Association conference in Co Mayo, the association's vice-president, Dermot O'Brien, said the size of the garda fleet had fallen from 2,814 vehicles in December 2009 to 2,444 in March 2013, and there had been a 30pc decrease in the number of marked patrol cars over the past three years.

kfoy@herald.ie


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