GardaI are “juggling” their stock of cars between stations in Laois, to delay them reaching 300,000km mileage, when they are withdrawn with little chance of replacement.
Fine Gael Deputy Charlie Flanagan voiced his annoyance that stations could be left carless, at last week’s Joint Policing Committee meeting.
“I find it impossible to accept that urban and rural areas can be left without the service of a car, particular where mobile criminals are operating. This is a recipe for criminal acts and trouble. The commissioner has made forty new cars available, but I haven’t seen any allocated to the Laois area, where there is a challenging situation,” he said.
Acting Chief Superintendent for Laois Michael Byrnes admitted there are limited cars available.
“We are pooling vehicles, but we are very much constrained. At 300,000 km cars are withdrawn, we have no say in that. We are constantly rotating cars with different mileages, we are holding balls in the air like a juggler. There are twenty divisions, we did get a car but it is a drop in the ocean, it’s probably down to finance, I assume and hope we will see a remedy to it,” he said.
Cllr Paul Mitchell didn’t see the need to remove cars once their mileage hit 300,000km.
“I don’t believe that at 300,000 they should have to be withdrawn. Some cars at 200,000 are wrecked, but I would love to see even old squad cars with high mileage put into rural areas, where they are still visible. In America there is a car parked at the top of every street, with the siren slowly turning, they are very visible. In Donegal a woman that was burgled rang the Garda and had to go and pick him up. I don’t want to see that situation happen in Laois. It’s very important Gardaí are mobile,” Cllr Mitchell said, also suggesting that Gardaí could use their own cars and get mileage expenses.
Acting Chief Supt Byrnes said withdrawing cars was not a Garda decision.
“The makers of the vehicles don’t guarantee them beyond that. I don’t know any vehicle that is as well maintained as a Garda one. It never happened in my service, you would only withdraw a car if it was in a bad accident,” he said.