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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019
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'We prove no match for criminals in chases': Gardaí criticise slow roll-out of new cars

Just 53 of the promised 260 vehicles for this year have come on stream so far.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

RANK-AND-FILE gardaí have said the delay in rolling out new vehicles across the country has left them at a disadvantage when they come up against criminals in high speed cars.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this week, communications director for the Garda Representative Association (GRA) John O’Keeffe said vehicles are an ongoing issue for members, whether it is in relation to supply, condition, age or up to date specification for policing purposes.

“Promises of new vehicles are nothing new to frontline gardaí in both urban and rural areas. Donegal have been looking for 4×4 vehicles for some time now, vital for their particular terrain.

Other country areas have experienced similar problems. Dublin is no different, particularly in Dublin West where some 80 new vehicles were promised for earlier this year and still none delivered. This is an area that has seen eight murders in 14 months – modern transport is therefore critical.

The GRA has previously pointed out that even when new vehicles are given to a district, they are usually replacing another vehicle that has had to be retired due to age or one that is off the road because of damage.

O’Keeffe said if frontline officers do not have ready access to appropriately specified and modern vehicles they “can prove no match for criminals traversing city and county in high-speed vehicles”.

“Nor can they respond to simple call out requests with any degree of expediency when either a car is not available, or the one that is, is not properly maintained,” he added.

The solution is clear. Deliver fit for purpose vehicles to the frontline and maintain the ones already in existence by repurposing them if necessary, so that the our members can continue to deliver the best service they can to a public whom frankly deserve better.

Last month it emerged that a request had been made by gardaí in the Tallaght district for more four-wheel drive vehicles to be made available before snowstorm Emma. They were told they were not available.

On the night of the raid on the Lidl store in Jobstown, gardaí struggled to get to the scene due to the five-foot snow drifts that had accumulated. In the end they were brought to the scene by Defence force and Civil Defence vehicles.

A garda spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that currently the garda fleet stands at 2,723.

“The purchase plan for 2018 provides for the purchase of some 260 vehicles,” they said. “Delivery of these vehicles has commenced.”

To date in 2018, 53 vehicles have been allocated.

“Delivery of vehicles is expected to commence in early May following fit out,” the spokesperson added. Allocation will be prioritised by regional commissioners.”

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