asked the Minisig ster for Justice if in view of the proposal to impose a 60 miles per hour speed limit he will ensure that in the interests of economy the present Ministerial cars are replaced by smaller cars which would be quite adequate for travelling within this speed limit, as such cars would be cheaper to run, would command a good resale price and would not have to be replaced more often than the present cars.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ministers' Cars.
The operation of a speed limit is not a factor of any great importance in the determination of the suitability of cars for Ministerial use.
The technical advice tendered to me by the Garda authorities who service the cars is that the type of car now in use fulfils the purposes for which it was purchased, effectively and economically, in comparison with other makes of cars.
Does the Minister not agree that, while these cars may not be subject to speed limits, that Ministers in this, as in other matters which are very much in prominence at the moment, should give an example? I am sure they would not wish to exceed the speed limit except in the very few cases of necessity.
That is so.
Would the Minister not agree that a car with a medium horsepower would amply fulfil the work which a Minister would be called upon to perform, that it would last the prescribed period of time and would have a better resale value and that in the interests of the economy it would be a good example for the Ministers to have them?
Those who advise me and who are in a position to judge the matter would not agree with the Deputy. They say that six-cylinder cars are needed for this type of work and also for Garda work. If you had small cars they would have to be overhauled after a much shorter mileage, their depreciation value would be far greater and they would be far less economic than six-cylinder cars which do 75,000 to 100,000 miles without an overhaul and are in good condition and fetch good prices as secondhand cars. I am advised, as far as the economics of this is concerned, that these cars for the purpose for which they have been purchased are, in contradistinction to what the Deputy suggests, much more economic than purchasing small cars which have to be replaced and overhauled much earlier and more frequently and would depreciate more than the bigger cars.
Question No. 41.
Could the Minister indicate what is the average life of a Ministerial car?
They are replaced, according to my information, in 2½ to three years when they have done 100,000 miles, and they are usually sold for good prices.
Would the Minister not agree that——
Deputy Belton cannot discuss this question all day.
(Cavan): Did I understand the Minister to say that depreciation is greater in a smaller car than in a large car?
The Deputy did not understand the Minister to say any such thing. If small cars were substituted for this type of work then the depreciation would be far greater.
(Cavan): What does the Minister mean by “this sort of work”?
(Cavan): It is all right for the Minister for Finance to say “Grow up” when he goes on the air appealing for restraint.
If you want to drive economically you buy a Mercedes car.