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These garda stations got new equipment to record telephone calls in 2008

A tender specifies that the equipment installed must operate constantly, and be available for playback.

Image: Paolo Trabattoni via Flickr/Creative Commmons

ALMOST TWO DOZEN garda stations had equipment installed or upgraded in 2008 that allowed phone calls and radio traffic to be recorded.

A tender from the period revealed a list of 21 stations around the country.

Independent TD Shane Ross said this morning that an investigation may take place in the awarding of this tender, worth €500,000.

“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will have to look at the value for money in the systems, but there is a bigger issue of whether this recording was legal,” he said.

“Telecoms equipment”

“An Garda Siochana held a public tender in October 2007 for a range of telecoms, video and radio equipment,” a garda spokesperson said in a statement last night.

“An Garda Siochana is currently compiling a full report on the matters raised recently for the Minister for Justice and it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment further while that report is being compiled.”

The tender specifies a “Digital Logging Recorder System” for the playback of calls:

1.1. This specification is for a Digital Logging Recorder System which interfaces to An Garda Siochana’s present analog and digital communications systems. The proposed solution shall automatically record and instantly playback telephone calls and radio traffic from An Garda Siochana’s communications systems at the sites outlined in the following table. The proposed system shall be designed for fault tolerant and high availability environment (24 x 7, continuous duty operation).
1.2. Recording requirements are outlined in the following paragraphs and table. Instant  playback shall be provided at all management/playback workstations. The tenderer  will provide one management/playback workstation per site (including archive  sites) as per specification.

These were to be installed at the following stations:

  • Garda Headquarters Phoenix Pk
  • DMR Headquarters, Harcourt Sq., Dublin 2
  • Anglesea Street, Cork
  • Drogheda
  • Castlebar
  • Bandon
  • Ennis
  • Fermoy
  • Henry St., Limerick
  • Mill St., Galway
  • Monaghan
  • Mullingar
  • Naas
  • Portlaoise
  • Roscommon
  • Sligo
  • Thurles
  • Tralee
  • Waterford
  • Wexford

It also lists twenty locations where Dictaphone Guardian, a brand name of a recording system capable of holding 640 hours of audio per tape, were already installed.

Minister Shatter revealed yesterday that these were replaced by “NICE records”, believed to be NICE Systems Limited, an Israeli-based company which specialises in telephone voice recording, data security and surveillance as well as systems that analyse this recorded data.

The requirements for the replacement of this equipment includes the following line:

Due to the fact that currently archived calls may be required at a future date, tenderers shall also include a proposal for the playback of archived Guardian recordings.

These devices were installed at the following stations.

  • Harcourt Square
  • Angelesea Street
  • Drogheda
  • Castlebar
  • Bandon
  • Ennis
  • Fermoy
  • Henry St. Limerick
  • Letterkenny
  • Mill Street, Galway
  • Monaghan
  • Mullingar
  • Naas
  • Portlaoise
  • Roscommon
  • Sligo
  • Thurles
  • Tralee
  • Waterford
  • Wexford

Read the tender in full here

Read: Public Accounts Committee could investigate €500,000 Garda recording tenders >

GardaGate: Everything you need to know in one place >

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