The Garda force should lease vehicles for use rather than buy them, because an owned fleet is much more expensive to maintain and repair, Garda sergeants and inspectors have said.
Sgt Paul Wallace from the Donegal division told delegates at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors that a vehicle that had been in service almost six years in Donegal had recently been involved in an accident with a horse, and was being repaired at a cost of €4,000.
This cost was higher than the value of the vehicle, which would soon pass 300,000km and would need to be taken out of service.
Sgt Wallace also told delegates yesterday that because the Garda owned rather than leased its fleet, when a vehicle was damaged beyond repair it was taken out of duty and no replacement was supplied in the current economic climate.
He said the Garda fleet was ageing quickly and this issue had to be addressed immediately if gardaí were to retain the standard of transport they needed to meet their obligations.
The conference heard that arising from the policy of withdrawing vehicles after 300,0000km, about 400 vehicles would be lost from the Garda fleet this year, during a period in which only 40 replacement vehicles were being bought.