‘Garden wagon’ for Ireland’s Garda force will cost more than €200m

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan says the Garda National Roads Service will cost €200 million over the next five years to provide the Gardai with the vehicle that can haul large loads of heavy equipment across the country.

Garda Síochána, the force that protects the nation’s roads, said the cost of the Gardátra vehicle, which is used for surveillance, would be covered by an extra €15 million budget.

The Garda said the Gardan is one of a number of vehicles that are being prepared for deployment across the UK in the next few years.

The first of the vehicles is being built by the General Electric Garda Vehicle Division in the UK.

The company has already built the first Garda mobile road camera in the US, and will begin work on an equivalent system in Ireland next year.

“The Gardan will provide an unprecedented level of coverage for Garda vehicles, including CCTV, radio, video, radar and other data and will be an essential tool for the gardai, particularly in rural areas,” Mr O’Neill said.

Garda Commissioner O’Sheragh said the project was “not without controversy” with critics of the system describing it as “a waste of money”.

“It will be difficult to get a contract for this type of technology in Ireland, and this is why I have asked the Department of Transport to conduct an assessment of the viability of this project,” he said.

The Government has already committed €25 million to the Gardal technology, which has been widely criticised by gardaí.