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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 22 January 2022

Eleven new garda motorcycles in three years despite withdrawal of 61

It is estimated that a further 93 garda vehicles will be retired from the fleet by the end of 2013.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

FIGURES RELEASED BY the Department of Justice in recent weeks have again highlighted pressures on the garda resources, with 11 motorcycles purchased in the last three years despite the withdrawal of 61.

In response to one parliamentary question, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter he was “conscious of the continuing pressures” on the fleet.

The figures also show that four traffic jeeps were purchased in 2011, with no extra jeeps added to the fleet either in 2012 or this year versus the five that were withdrawn during that period. There is a larger disparity between the figures for motorcycles bought and retired during the three years period and no new bikes were added to the fleet this year.

New vehicles

The minister pointed to his recent announcement of a €9 million investment for garda vehicles with €5 million being injected before the end of 2013. However his department told TheJournal.ie at the time that none of this funding for the rest of the year would be spent on new motorcycles and the Garda Representative Association said the new vehicles would “only keep us at our current level”.

Around 20 escort bikes were taken off the roads for two months for servicing over the summer and it is understood that they were previously taken out of action for a number of weeks ahead of visits by Queen Elizabeth II and US President Barack Obama in 2011 to bring the vehicles up to scratch.

One garda source said:

I would go as far as to say that our safety is being compromised by management, expecting us to use sub-standard equipment and not police spec equipment.

Declining numbers

Overall numbers of vehicles have been declining over the years from 2,677 in 2011 to 2,459 this year.

Shatter said it is estimated that a further 93 vehicles may be retired between now and the end of the year. Dublin, unsurprisingly, has the highest number of vehicles with over 500 while Kerry has the lowest at 38.

The minister explained that vehicles are retired for “a variety of reasons”, including where vehicles are considered beyond economic repair or as a result of accidents.

I understand from the garda authorities that the relevant manufacturers have indicated that, for safety reasons, patrol cars should be withdrawn from service when the odometer reading reaches 300,000 kilometres.

The minister has maintained that An Garda Síochana are provided with “sufficient resources to enable them to deliver an effective and efficient policing service”.

Related: 305 new garda vehicles will ‘only keep us at our current level’>

Read: Garda escort bikes out of action for two months>

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