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Two out of five Garda stations don’t have email access

Only 421 of the country’s 703 Garda stations are “networked” – meaning 40 per cent of them don’t have email connections.

Two out of every five Garda stations are not 'networked' - meaning they cannot gain access even to email services.
Two out of every five Garda stations are not 'networked' - meaning they cannot gain access even to email services.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

TWO IN EVERY FIVE Garda stations in Ireland do not have email access, it has emerged.

Figures published by justice minister Alan Shatter show that of the 703 Garda stations currently in operation, 421 of them are ‘networked locations’ leaving 282 stations without access to a unique email address.

“While not every Garda station is a networked location, every District and Divisional Headquarters is, therefore providing access to that network for every member of An Garda Síochána,” Shatter said in a parliamentary question to Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Dara Calleary.

Calleary condemned the figures, saying he could not understand how so many stations were not networked.

“It is absurd that such a basic necessity for the operation of any office would be so lacking within our Garda force,” he said.

While I acknowledge that there has been significant investment in information technology at Garda divisional headquarters and national level, community Garda stations are the frontline of policing in this country.It should not be asking too much that they have a basic email service and are fully linked to the garda network.

In a statement this evening, Shatter said the management of Garda stations was a matter for the Garda Commissioner, and this was the situation throughout Fianna Fáil’s 14-year term of government.

“It is extraordinary that Deputy Dara Calleary does not acknowledge or understand this,” the minister said.

He added that it had not been the intention to connect all stations to the Garda network, as this would not be cost effective for stations which did not have 24 hour opening.

A statement from the Department of Justice said Shatter had “also been advised that the network is being extended to additional stations and that this is a process which will continue. All Garda members have access to the Garda network via connected stations.

“The Minister would like to emphasise that Garda members have available to them the most up to date secure radio communications equipment.”

Shatter also said Garda stations which were not hooked up to the Garda network – which includes the PULSE software for logging crimes – still have “secure voice communications” facility through which they could contact other networked stations.

This facility meant those stations met the current operational requirements, the minister said.

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Gavan Reilly

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