IF John Gormley is serious about bringing in Fine Gael’s plan for a car pool for Government Ministers, he should take a stand in Cabinet and make it happen without any further delay, Fine Gael Transport Spokesman Simon Coveney TD said today (Friday).
“I’m delighted to learn that someone in Cabinet has seen the merit of Fine Gael’s plan for a Government car pool. The sight of the entire Cabinet arriving in a fleet of limousines to Farmleigh last week showed just how out of touch this Government has become.
“I hope this isn’t just a PR exercise by Minister Gormley and that he is serious about implementing the Fine Gael proposal. It is hard not to be sceptical that a Fianna Fáil-led Government would ever scrap the expensive Ministerial car system. They have enjoyed the comforts of high office for far too long.
“Fine Gael is committed to radical reform by scrapping the automatic entitlement to a State car and Garda driver for every Minister, and replacing it with a Government car pool system. The Government has spent nearly €11 million on its car fleet in the last two years, with 54 Gardaí employed to drive Ministers and State officials. We believe this figure could be halved.
“Under Fine Gael’s proposals, Government Ministers would be encouraged to use their own car for private use, or public transport when appropriate. There would also be a car pool of State cars available with security-cleared drivers to Ministers to perform Government duties. Garda drivers would only remain available to the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice, unless a security threat demanded otherwise.
“I would be more than happy to talk to John Gormley about how we could efficiently implement a new car pool system for Ministers,” he said.