Upgrade demand for garda ‘runaround’

editorial image
Mountmellick’s town councillors have demanded a higher spec squad car for policing the town.

Mountmellick’s town councillors have demanded a higher spec squad car for policing the town.

Councillors put it to senior gardaí last week the current car was not up to standard at the Joint Policing meeting in the town last Thursday January 16. Cllr Paddy Bracken wanted the gardaí to guarantee that the existing car was up to the job of a high speed chase.

“If there is a high speed incident, do you feel confident, do you feel comfortable with that car, looking at the size of the car and the mileage?,” Cllr Bracken asked several times.

“I’d have top of the range cars for every station if I could. I understand there will be additions to the fleet in the near future,” said Inspector Aidan Farrelly.

Insp Farrelly said upgrading was up to the higher powers.

“Cars allocated to rural stations are mostly family saloons. High powered cars are used in specialist units, and sometimes traffic units that can be called in for incidents. We have applied for upgrades like every other division, It is up to the Department of Justice,” he said.

Insp Farrelly added that that Laois/Offaly Chief Superintendent John Scanlan is “fighting their corner” to upgrade garda cars.

Mountmellick’s Garda Sergeant Ingrid Moore said there was “nothing wrong” with the existing car.

“It is working perfectly well, there have been no breakdowns. There would be considerable mileage on it,” she said.

“It is not near end of life. Our cars can have up to 300,000 km in some cases. There is very low mileage on the current Mountmellick car,” Inspt Farrelly added.

Cllr Marc Connolly said the car was “more of a city runaround”.

“It is not suitable, it’s a disgrace for a modern police force. The amount of new cars will just about cover the number of cars retiring,” he said.

His proposal to write to the Garda Commissioner to press the issue was seconded by Cllr Bracken.