Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, has announced that €5.3m is to be spent on 260 new Garda vehicles between now and the end of the year.
Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed the announcement in respect of it improving the Gardaí’s ability to tackle the problem of mobile gangs travelling the countryside and carrying out robberies.
The additions include high-powered vehicles, marked and unmarked patrol cars, cars for surveillance, motorcycles for high-visibility policing and vehicles for public order policing. The 260 vehicles will be added to the 370 vehicles that have already come on stream so far this year.
“This investment will support Gardaí to carry out more visible and responsive patrols of motorways and rural communities,” Deputy McFadden says. “The extra vehicles will give them the resources to increase surveillance of criminal gangs and to enhance night-time public order policing.
“Including this announcement, this Government will have invested more than €34 million in new Garda vehicles since 2012, marking a massive increase on the €4.8 million provided by the previous Government between 2009 and 2011.
“Continued investment in An Garda Síochána is vital to provide a modern, effective, and fit-for-purpose Garda force, and I was also delighted to help secure funding for upgrades of Athlone, Longford, and Mullingar Garda Stations. This investment will continue with the recruitment of an additional 600 gardaí to add to the 550 who have been recruited since this Government reopened Templemore.
“Investment will also continue through the Capital Plan, 2016 to 2021, which provides an additional €46 million for new Garda vehicles.”
Deputy McFadden also commended the new Bail Bill introduced by Minister Fitzgerald in July. She believes the combination of these improvements will allow Gardaí clamp down on serious and serial offenders. “This new law will see a clampdown on repeat burglars and will support the Gardaí who work extremely hard to catch criminals.
“This Government is committed to ensuring that the Gardaí have all the necessary tools at their disposal to tackle crime. New, high-powered vehicles, in addition to more Gardaí, improved ICT, and stronger laws will give the force more resources to do their job in Westmeath and countrywide.”