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Gardaí in the force's communications centre in Harcourt Street, Dublin. Laura Hutton/

There are 38 garda stations in Munster that can't access the Pulse system

The system is used widely by the force but 77 stations can’t access it.

A TOTAL OF 77 garda stations do not have access to the Pulse computer system due to problems getting broadband in some rural areas.

Stations in 17 garda regions around the country are affected by the problem with Tipperary (14) having the most number of stations without the Pulse system.

The system is used to record crime, to update investigations, for internal email communication, staff circulars and other policing matters.

Despite it being used as key resource by most gardaí, figures released to Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan have shown that almost 14% of garda stations around the country do not have access to the system.

In October 2016 it was revealed that 167 garda stations were not connected to Pulse, meaning that 90 have been connected in the past 15 months.

Gardaí in stations that do not have access to the system are advised to contact the Garda Information Services Centre or a the contact another station if they wish to retrieve information from Pulse.

Rank-and-file gardaí have complained that they are sometimes forced to drive to another station to access the Pulse system in order to update their own files.

“It makes it difficult for members to be kept apprised of incidents in the area,” one garda previously told “To find intelligence of someone being in the area, they have to go to a different station.”

O’Callaghan says that having Pulse on-hand is “absolutely essential” for all gardaí.

“Asking a garda to do his or her job without access to Pulse is like asking a journalist to do his/her job with access to the internet. It’s fundamental in order for gardaí to investigate criminal offences adequately,” he argues.

It sort of places rural garda stations at a lower level to urban garda stations, where they’ve access to the internet. So once again it just illustrates there appears to be two levels of resourcing for garda stations in rural areas as opposed to the facilities garda stations in urban areas have.

PastedImage-67091 The number of garda stations not connected to Pulse, by-county.

Rural broadband

The future of broadband provision for rural areas has been brought into question in recent weeks after Eir announced it was withdrawing its bid for the Rural Broadband Plan, leaving just one bidder remaining for the plan.

It’s been estimated that 840,000 premises have been targeted as being in need of high-speed connections. These premises include homes, businesses and other public bodies.

O’Callaghan says the Pulse issue demonstrates that a lack of broadband affects many aspects of rural life.

People in rural areas aren’t getting access to broadband but the consequences of that go far beyond just individual houses not being able to get it. Business can’t start up but it also means gardaí can’t investigate criminality without access to Pulse.

In its response to O’Callaghan, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said there are currently 472 stations connected to Pulse, 15 in the process of being connected and 77 that remain unconnected.

“The Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 sets out a series of initiatives which will enable An Garda Síochána deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in the fight against crime,” the minister stated.

“I am informed that a project was established under the programme to enhance rural access to the garda network by connecting the majority of these remaining sites to the garda network. Where stations cannot be connected, for example where local broadband services are not yet available, other methods of providing members with network access are being explored.”

Read: ‘It’s full steam ahead’ – Naughten pours cold water on Fianna Fáil calls for review of National Broadband Plan >

Read: Six garda stations, including Stepaside, to reopen following report >

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