Sunday, March 12, 2006

Garda drivers and the "duckworthing" of Emma McAleese

Would the Independent Group please make up its mind? Either it wants to treat someone like a socialite (Indo May 2004, rego req.) or as a layabout who can't be bothered commuting like her ESB colleagues (Sindo this morning).

Questions about the use of garda drivers over the years have been numerous (including their adherence or lack thereof to speed limits) and previous reports had suggested civilianising the cabinet ministerial drivers and "courtesy" drivers such as those for ex-Taoisigh and retaining police drivers only for security needs - there was also controversy about provision of a driver for the State Pathologist.

While the swiftboating (albeit belatedly) of Mary McAleese is ongoing, now her daughter will pay for it. One hopes the other abusers of Garda drivers will be similarly outed, as one officer is quoted in the Sindo article:
"These guards are doing menial tasks that could, in most cases, be done by civilians. And there is no accountability. If the taxi meter was running the bill would be massive. The garda drivers work long hours and their health and safety doesn't even come into it.

"Ministers particularly love having a €70,000 car under their backside and a monkey behind the wheel to drive them around. No matter what Government has been in power they have never done away with that privilege, and they are never likely to."

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