The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Mr Alan Shatter T.D. today announced that, on the basis of proposals he has presented, the Government has approved the introduction of new arrangements for the provision of cars for Ministers and other Office Holders.
The new measures agreed by the Government will bring to an end the situation under which all Cabinet Ministers and certain other Office Holders, including ex Presidents and Taoisigh, are provided with full time Garda transport and drivers. In particular, they fulfil the commitments in the Government Programme for National Recovery 2011-2016 which promised that the new Government would halve the cost of the previous system of providing Ministerial transport and would secure the release of Garda drivers for normal policing duties.
Commenting on the decision Minister Shatter said "I am delighted that the Government has been able to act so quickly in this area and to fulfil the commitments it has made in the Programme for Government. The new system for Ministerial transport will yield substantial financial savings. Also, very importantly, it will free up Garda personnel for policing duties instead of tying them up as Ministerial drivers."
The main features of the new transport measures are as follows:
a) The President, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice and Law Reform will continue to be provided with Garda transport and drivers, for security reasons:
b) With the exception of the three members of the Government mentioned above, the arrangements currently in place for Ministers of State will apply for all Ministers; and
c) Subject to a period of three months notice, former Office Holders will no longer be supplied with full time official transport but such transport will be available to them on important State occasions.
This decision does not affect the provision of a State car to the Chief Justice and the current Director of Public Prosecutions.
In 2010 expenditure on the Garda Office Holder Fleet amounted to approximately Euro 7.5m. The new arrangements will effect a substantial reduction. The Department of Finance has examined the transport expenses incurred by Ministers of State and has estimated that the average annual cost per Minister of State, including drivers’ pay, is approximately €120,200.
Using the expenditure figures for 2010, the average cost of providing an Office Holder car is approximately €280,000. On that basis, it is estimated that the arrangements accepted by Government could potentially yield a saving of the order of €4m per annum.
15 March 2011