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305 new garda vehicles will 'only keep us at our current level'

John Parker of the GRA said the new funding announced by Minister Shatter will not mean an increase in numbers in the fleet with one vehicle retired every two days.

Image: D464-Darren Hall via Flickr

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Alan Shatter announced today that 305 new garda vehicles will be delivered before the end of this year.

Some €9 million for the purchase of new vehicles for the fleet was announced in Budget 2014 and Shatter said today €5 million of this will be made available before the end of 2013.

Speaking today, the minister said the funding is “a clear indication” of his commitment to ensure that gardaí are provided with sufficient resources.

However President of the Garda Representative Association John Parker told TheJournal.ie that the new vehicles “will only keep us at our current level”.

“We need an investment of about €6 or €7 million per year and that amount will keep us at the current level of vehicles but there’s been a substantial reduction in numbers since 2009,” he said. “This doesn’t allow much movement when there’s a vehicle off the road or a major operation so while we welcome the roll-out of new vehicles, going forward, we’d like to see an increase to bridge the gap between what we had and what we have now.”

He said the €5 million announced today “would have been announced anyway” as these new vehicles were already due to come on stream.

So far this year some 133 new vehicles have already been made available but Parker said that a vehicle is retired at least every two days.

The new vehicles announced today will be provided by Hyundai and Ford. This will not include garda traffic or escort bikes which have also seen a decline in numbers from 238 in 2009 to 170 in March of this year. Almost 130 of these bikes were more than five years old and one source said they are considered “bottom of the pile” of priorities for replacement.

The minister said today the remaining €4 million announced in the budget will be made available over the course of next year.

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

Read: Gardaí feel like ‘sitting ducks’ after decision to withdraw Uzi submachine gun>

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