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Sinn Féin express alarm over Minister’s error in Garda station PULSE figures – O’Brien

1 February, 2017 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD


Speaking in response to information received by the Minister for Justice, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that he was alarmed that the Minister’s information could differ so greatly from previous replies to parliamentary questions.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“I tabled a parliamentary question to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald in October asking how many Garda stations did not have access to PULSE and told that there were 167 stations that didn’t.

“As part of holding the Government to account, I tabled the same question in January in order to see how many stations this was rectified in. I certainly was not expecting the Minister to reply that even more stations – 187 in fact – do not have access to PULSE.

“The Minister may believe it is sufficient that Gardaí in non-networked locations can contact the Garda Information Services Centre to provide details to call-takers to log on the PULSE system, but that is very obviously a completely inefficient waste of time and resources.

“I would like for the Minister to clarify whose mistake this was and to provide an assurance that these figures are accurate and we won’t be faced with a situation where we are told there are even more Garda stations without access to PULSE than we thought in the first place.” 

Note: Please see the PQ in question below

QUESTION NO:  118

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)

by Deputy Jonathan O'Brien

for WRITTEN ANSWER on Tuesday, 31st January, 2017. 

 *  To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda stations that have no access to PULSE..

                                                             - Jonathan O'Brien

REPLY.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter

I am, however, informed by the Garda authorities that there are some 178 stations that are not connected to the Garda Network.  However, members in non-networked locations can contact the Garda Information Services Centre to provide relevant details to trained civilian call-takers who enter the details on the PULSE system.a

I would draw the attention of the Deputy to my response to Parliamentary Question No. 135 of 25 October 2016 wherein I advised that the number of non-networked stations was 167. I have now been advised by the Garda authorities that this should, in fact, have read 187 and I wish to correct the record of the House in that regard.

The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner launched the Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 in June 2016 and that this Programme is intended to professionalise, modernise and renew An Garda Síochána to ensure that the organisation can meet present and future challenges.   As part of the Programme, the matter of enhancing rural access to the Garda network by connecting non-networked sites to the network is being examined.  This includes plans to introduce mobile technology solutions to enable operational Gardaí to access core information systems, including PULSE, while on duty and away from Garda stations.

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