Cars hired for gardaí operations during Covid-19 pandemic in the Southern Region costing €50k per month

Cars hired for gardaí operations during Covid-19 pandemic in the Southern Region costing €50k per month
Picture: Denis Minihane.

CARS being hired for garda use in the Southern Region during Covid-19 are costing close to €50,000 per month.

Fifty cars have been hired for use in Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Clare and Limerick during the Covid-19 operation, out of a total of 210 hired fleet.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, An Garda Siochana said: "I can advise that Europcar are the supplier of the Covid-19 rental vehicles. However, no formal contract has been put in place. This office has been advised that 210 vehicles were hired by An Garda Siochana to provide additional support to community policing during the Covid-19 period."

An Garda Siochana added that the cost per month for the 210 vehicles is €209,591.

A spokesman continued: "These vehicles are allocated on a regional basis. Cork City, Cork West and Cork North form part of the Southern Region and we have been advised that 50 vehicles were assigned to the Southern Region."

The vehicles have been hired since mid-March and have been used for several community policing duties during the lockdown.

In some areas, gardai collected prescribed drugs for people who were cocooning, while shopping was also delivered by gardai to people who could not go to the shop for groceries.

It is understood the hired fleet will remain in place until at least the end of September.

When the decision to hire vehicles was announced in March, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said they were drafted in so that the most vulnerable people in communities could be cared for.

A spokesman for the Garda Representative Association said that there are no issues at the moment in Cork regarding fleet numbers, adding that there are also vehicles available which have been hired by garda management across the country to deal with policing demands arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A garda spokesperson said: "An Garda Siochana hired 210 vehicles to provide additional mobility to our members nationwide, which provided increased community support and community engagement across the country during the pandemic. This is an ongoing situation and revolving at this time."

Last week, The Echo revealed that the garda fleet has increased in Cork city and county in the past six months, apart from the hired fleet.

In Cork city, the number of cars has risen from 87 in December to 94 at the end of June.

In Cork North, the number of cars has risen from 37 to 44, while Cork West has risen from 44 to 47.

There are now two 4X4s in Cork city, up one since December.

In Cork North, gardai have 12 garda vans now, an increase of one in the last six months.

There has been an increase of two vans in Cork West, from 11 to 13.

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