Garda boss reviewing use of state cars

GARDA management are reviewing the deployment of state cars to ministers and former taoisigh, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan confirmed yesterday.

The provision of the service costs the taxpayer more than €4.5 million annually in garda salaries and allowances.

The fleet of 27 state-provided cars engage 54 trained drivers who double as personal security officers.

Commissioner Callinan said: “We are doing some work in this area at the moment and obviously there is a security issue with all the problems that present themselves from time to time.

“We will certainly take a very, very close look at the security situation and the implications for security for various ministries and we will work from there.

“But it is a work in progress. We are looking at the whole situation at the moment. The situation politically that has developed has only developed in the very recent past also. We are keeping a close eye on that and we are seeing where our security considerations lay and we will work from there.”

Commissioner Callinan was speaking at Templemore College where 126 new gardaí were presented with their graduation certificates.

There are now less than 100 probationer/student gardaí at the college.

From September onwards, the college will not have any students due to the embargo on recruitment.

Commissioner Callinan, however, said in-service courses will continue to be provided from Templemore.

“That service level will be maintained into the future,” he said.

Despite funding cuts this year in Operation Anvil, which targets major crime, Commissioner Callinan said the force would not be compromised in putting in place intelligence-led or overt operations to deal with various criminality.

The commissioner said he also wanted to assure people in Limerick there would be no let-up in tackling the city’s feuding gangs.

Commissioner Callinan said in the recent past the success of garda endeavours in tackling serious crime had been noted in the city.

He said: “Funding will not be an issue. While I did indicate (Operation) Anvil funding will be down, it is not the only funding stream available to me as Garda Commissioner. I have assured my senior staff that they will not be compromised either in intelligence-led operations, or cover or covert operations in place to deal with various forms of criminality.

“Limerick has been a particular problem over a number of years. I should acknowledge the fantastic work our people on the ground are doing there. We do have a lot of resources in Limerick to deal with these issues: the regional support unit, an armed response and from time to time the Emergency Response Unit has been deployed on the ground there, working with local armed units, uniformed and plain clothes.

“We will do everything that is necessary, you can rest assured of that, and I can assure the people of Limerick we will do everything necessary to ensure that the rule of law prevails in Limerick and elsewhere.”

At yesterday’s graduation, the Commissioner’s medal to the best academic student was awarded to former journalist Garda Eamon Honan from Dublin.

The Gary Sheehan Memorial Medal for best all-round student went to Garda Neasa Ní Chearnaigh from Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal, a qualified lawyer, and the Templemore Town Council Medal for social science studies went to Gara Darragh Lynch from Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

The certificates and medals were presented by Minister of State Martin Mansergh.

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