Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Justice Dara Calleary has established that 40 per cent of the Garda stations in the State are not linked to the Garda network and do not have email access.
In response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Calleary, the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter admitted that only 421 of the country's 703 Garda stations are “networked locations”. This means that 282 stations are not networked and do not have an email connection.
Deputy Calleary said: “How is it possible that in this day and age, four out of 10 Garda stations in this country are not ‘networked’ and do not have email access? It is absurd that such a basic necessity for the operation of any office would be so lacking within our Garda force.
“While I acknowledge that there has been significant investment in information technology at Garda divisional headquarters and national level, community Garda stations are the frontline of policing in this country. It should not be asking too much that they have a basic email service and are fully linked to the Garda network.
“How can we expect to maximise the impact of community policing if local Garda stations are hampered in this way? Speed and efficiency of communication within the force is crucial to successful policing. It is a fundamental requirement that information can be quickly transferred between a local station and divisional headquarters, and between senior members of the force and the rank and file.
“I am calling on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to outline what plans he has, if any, to roll out a basic information technology package to every Garda station in the country, including email. This does not have to be a costly exercise, it's about being clever about how resources are managed to achieve maximum benefit to the public.”