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O'Dea to review army role in subsidised bank security

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  • O'Dea to review army role in subsidised bank security

    Banks to face full costs of security escorts
    Irish Times
    Marie O'Halloran

    Banks will soon be expected to pay the full costs of State security for cash escorts.
    The Minister for Defence, Mr O'Dea, has said he plans to eliminate the costs to the Army of providing a security escort for banks moving large amounts of cash.
    According to the latest figures, cash escorts cost the Army and Garda €9.92 million, with the financial institutions contributing €5.86 million of this.
    The banks were now making huge profits, said Mr O'Dea, who will today discuss the issue with Department officials who have been reviewing the costs.
    Up to now the Department of Justice has negotiated with the banks about payments and further discussions are under way on the banks' contribution for this and future years.
    The vice-chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr John McGuinness, said however "that it's not a big deal to review these things. We've had the reviews, we've had the reports, we know the costs and the only acceptable solution is for the banks to pay the full cost of security.
    "If the banks bought the security service from the private sector, notwithstanding the issue of arms, they would pay for it.
    "If you get a service in the bank you will pay every cent for it, so there is no reason why the banks should be any exception, when their profits are surging ahead."
    Mr McGuinness, a Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow-Kilkenny, also called on the Minister for Finance to get involved in the issue.
    "The Department of Finance has an overview of different Departments on value for money and accountability, and in this case there is neither value for money nor proper accountability for taxpayers' money."
    The Ministers for Defence and Justice released details of the costs to Mr McGuinness in Dáil replies.
    Providing security escorts cost the Army €6.64 million last year, of which the financial institutions paid just €2.86 million.
    The cost to the Garda for the same period was €3,283,348 and the banks paid €3 million of that, according to Department of Justice figures.
    Mr O'Dea said the Garda insisted on recovering most of their costs and he wanted to eliminate the costs for the Defence Forces. There were logistical considerations, but he aimed to have the banks pay the full costs "as quickly as possible".
    The original decision to provide armed security was made by the government in 1978, following a large robbery on a security van in Co Limerick, but Mr O'Dea pointed out that there was a much reduced security threat since the development of the peace process.

  • #2
    O'Dea to review army role in subsidised bank security

    O'Dea to review army role in subsidised bank security

    THE Army may pull out of providing security escorts for bank cash transits depending on a review of the costs ordered by Defence Minister Willie O'Dea.

    Mr O'Dea said it was an option which he would consider after it emerged that the department was only getting back just over 40pc of its costs on providing security for the cash escorts.

    This is compared to more than 90pc which the Department of Justice is recouping from the banks for its Garda escorts.

    Providing security escorts cost the army €6.64m last year of which they recouped just €2.86m. The Garda spent €3.3m on the same period and were repaid €3m from the financial institutions.

    "I want to see something done. The fact is that the taxpayer is picking up a large element of this bill and the banks are not exactly losing money," the minister told the Irish Independent yesterday.

    The minister ordered the review last Friday after he noticed the discrepancy between what the two departments were recouping and said it should be completed this week.

    He discovered that the former secretary general of the Department of Defence had written to the banks on the issue six months ago.

    "The reply from the banks said that when they renegotiated the agreement with the Department of Justice in 1995 - the original agreement was made in 1978 following a large robbery on a security van in Limerick - on security escorts, the banks had suggested that they would do the security themselves and take out private insurance.

    "However, they said that at the time the State would not agree because of the threat from subversives. But the situation has changed greatly since 1995 especially with the ceasefire," he said.

    This suggestion of the banks providing their own security and the army pulling out completely was an option that he would now be looking at, he said.

    "Obviously the ideal situation would be that we would continue as it is but that we would recoup more of our costs.

    "I want to see how we arrived at this conclusion where the repayments are as lopsided as they are between the departments. And I want to see if we can get a bigger contribution.

    "I have to wait for the review to see what deal was done between the banks and the departments and how we should do so badly out of it," said Mr O'Dea.

    He said that "the ordinary people on the street" were asking why they had to foot the bill for the service when the banks were making so much money.

    "This is what they are saying to me so I have to listen."

    A spokesperson for the Irish Bankers' Federation (IBF) said that the industry contributes €5.9m of the total €9.92m.

    It said that banks' contribution should be seen in context including that security escorts were introduced in the early 1980s by the State on the advice of the Garda authorities.

    Martha Kearns


    • #3
      I hate to say it,But I like what willie has had to say so far...Hopefully he will keep up this trend(4 blackhawks,plus 2 more for training,and exercise the option for another 2..Please )

      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


      • #4
        GF, any specifics/examples, I don't get to hear too much here. Has he hinted at any equipment and/or cash?



        • #5
          Well He wants the bank to start paying for cash escorts for one...

          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


          • #6
            who are thinking of hiring their own security to replace the DF due to the improving security situation.
            O'Dea basically said the same thing
            "Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here...this is the War Room!"


            • #7
              Either way,we either save money and have the lads doing more useful things...or we gain by it. Its all good..

              Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


              • #8
                They should definitely be paying the costs for it, it's not as if they are short of a few euro with all the overcharging they have been at. What kind of security could the banks use to replace the army? They would hardly be allowed armed civilian guards, would they?


                • #9
                  I think they would. Bank Managers are one of the few people who are entitled to keep firearms for personal protection,if I remember rightly...

                  Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                  • #10

                    That bank manager thing sounded bogey. Still think it is, check this out



                    • #11
                      That background note is a load of crap, full of mistakes.

                      In the seventies at least, bank managers and firearms dealers, along with others who carried large amounts of cash who felt a threat from paramilitary robberies could in certain circumstances get a pistol licence for personal protection. I don't think this is still in effect though.