Dáil Éireann - Volume 515 - 07 March, 2000
Written Answers. - Garda IT Systems.
Mr. D. Carey Mr. D. Carey
28. Mr. D. Carey asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the new PULSE computer system used by gardaí crashes regularly; the backlog of PULSE forms at Fitzgibbon Street Garda station; if the volume of paperwork has increased dramatically since the introduction  of the new system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6733/00]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): Development work on the new Garda IT systems known as the PULSE project began in August 1996 and was expected to take four years to complete. What was aimed at in this project was to provide the Garda with state-of-the-art systems in 17 operational areas. Much of the development work involved original design of software and systems.
For such a complex and large project it has remained relatively close to target in terms of cost and time. The project as a whole is, I understand, a number of months behind schedule largely due to two factors, the need to concentrate in the latter half of last year in achieving Y2K compliance and to the industrial relations position whereby gardaí did not co-operate, for a period last year, with the introduction of PULSE.
It has always been the intention to introduce PULSE on a phased basis. Work on the first two planned releases was completed last year and these are being rolled out to Garda stations. In the meantime, planning and design of a further two releases for later this year is ongoing.
The new PULSE systems represent a major change in how gardaí record incidents and crimes and a major feature of the PULSE project is to equip and skill all members of the Garda to use the systems. To progress the training that is needed in a manageable and coherent way it was decided to break into two phases, the first where gardaí would be taught how to make inquiries and retrieve information on the new systems and the second, and perhaps more critical phase, where members would be taught how to input information into the systems.
To allow training to progress in this way, a team of gardaí from divisions around the country were brought together and trained to input data which would initially be sent to them from stations in paper form. This is the task which is being done at Fitzgibbon Street. However, this is purely a temporary expedient. As the input training to which I referred progresses this unit will gradually be disbanded and its members will bring the knowledge and skills they have acquired back to their divisions thus helping to further the overall training process.
As to the question of problems with the new PULSE systems, I am informed that there are some teething problems but nothing beyond what might normally be expected in the first weeks of live operations of such a new and complex system. I am told that the problems which have arisen are solvable and that necessary adjustments are being made.
In relation to a backlog of forms at Fitzgibbon Street, I am informed that this grew up mainly as a result of the industrial relations problem at the end of last year and that it is being sorted out. I understand that all forms sent to the data entry  centre from the beginning of this year have been dealt with immediately and that in terms of current data the system is therefore up to date.
Dáil Éireann 515 Written Answers. Garda IT Systems.