Local Fine Gael T.D. Tom Hayes has called for the current number of vehicles available to Gardaí to be maintained, despite budget cutbacks in recent years.
Deputy Hayes is worried that while rural communities across the country are seeing an increase in crime, squad cars are automatically being decommissioned with no sign of newer vehicles taking their place.
“It is simply not possible for us to ask more and more from the Gardaí whilst simultaneously limiting the equipment they have to work with. The issue of decommissioned squad cars not being replaced is a worrying trend, particularly in rural Ireland.
“With less Gardaí having to patrol larger areas, we’re seeing a massive spike in the amount of mileage being racked up by individual vehicles. Under the current system once a squad car has clocked 300,000km they are automatically decommissioned, regardless of their actual condition. This policy would be fine if the local Gardaí were to receive a replacement car but that’s not happening in the current climate.
“In urban areas the decommissioning of cars becomes less of an issue as Gardaí can perhaps switch to foot patrols instead, but in rural areas that simply isn’t an option. Obviously the safety of the men and women serving in the Gardaí should be our top priority, but the safety and security of the public must also be considered.
“In an ideal world we should be replacing any vehicles that are automatically decommissioned. At the very least we should look at rotating vehicles in urban areas with those in rural Ireland that have obviously racked up more mileage. By doing so we can maximise the use of Garda squad cars while maintaining the current number of vehicles in use” concluded Deputy Hayes.