For our younger readers – that disgraceful JobBridge scam is not the 1st time Advance Pitstop have been in the news.
Garda corruption was highlighted in 2001 when an investigation was launched into how Advance Pitstop won contracts for Garda tyre-supply and subsequently charged well above their initial tenders, eventually having to return some £100k from the £2.1m spent between ’98-2001.
Advance Pitstop took Garda civilian fleet manager Oliver Hanlon and senior gardai from the Garda transport section on four annual all-expenses-paid golfing trips to England, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
The first trip was in late November 1997, two months before the GSA accepted Advance Pitstop as a government tyre supplier. The last three trips cost Advance £45,000. There were also two payments each of £3,000 made to the Garda boat club by Advance Pitstop.
The following is a transcript from the Oireachtas Committee enquiry into the affair and the Dept. of Justice Secretary General T. Dalton
Mr. Dalton: I have some details of the trips and maybe the best thing is to give them to the Deputy. The trips stretched over a period. I think the initial one may have been after the awarding of the contract but I am not certain, I need to check it. However, the trips were as follows: for four people who travelled to Manchester from 26 to 28 November 1997; for six people who travelled to Marbella in Spain from 4 to 8 October 1998; for five people who travelled to Rome from 26 to 30 September 1999; and for five people who travelled to the Algarve in Portugal from 30 September to 5 October 2000; in other words, a trip every year for different numbers.
Deputy C. Lenihan: They were made mostly after the awarding of the contract. Is that right?
Mr. Dalton: I am not sure about the 1997 trip, but I think they were all made after the contract was awarded.
Deputy C. Lenihan: They were fundamentally golfing trips?
Mr. Dalton: I do not have an indication as to what the people concerned were travelling for. Various reasons have been advanced. This is part of the matter that will be looked at in the course of the internal audit report. The trip to Manchester probably had more to do with football. I think the others were probably – ostensibly, at least – golfing trips, but other reasons may have been advanced.
Further reading on some of the Garda corruption that was prevalent at the turn of the century shows that our loss of confidence precedes more recent affairs over penalty points, whiskey from Shell and arresting and shaming TDs who question the Gardaí.