Hands-free phone kits for council staff's cars
HANDS-free phone kits are being installed in the cars and vans of local authority workers to avoid them breaking the law.
However, South Dublin County Council insisted councillors would not benefit from the scheme, which is expected to cost thousands of euro.
The council is asking for tenders for the provision and installation of Bluetooth hands-free kits for its cars, vans and trucks.
A spokeswoman told the Herald the decision was made on health and safety grounds.
The devices will be fitted to vehicles used by the local authority's water services, parks, roads and housing staff.
"It is of paramount importance to ensure a means of communication exists between outdoor based staff using a council vehicle and the depot to which the vehicle in question is assigned, particularly in cases where staff may be working alone and in case of an emergency," she said.
"These kits are also being rolled out as a road safety function as well as to ensure that drivers of our vehicles do not break the law by holding a mobile phone in their hand whilst driving the vehicle.
"The roll-out does not extend to private cars belonging to staff or councillors."
Fine Gael councillor Colm Brophy told the Herald the local authority has "a lot of staff who are on the road all the time".
Asked about the cost he said: "I have no problem with staff who are working and using their car having a Bluetooth kit as a matter of road safety."
He added that the issue was not raised with councillors as it is an "administrative" matter.
"By law, they should use the kits. Anybody who uses their phone while driving has to have Bluetooth kits," Mr Brophy said.
The tender process is the best way to get value for money, he added.
"Like everything that is done, particularly by South Dublin County Council, it's done on a value for money basis. If you can do one tender for something like this you can save a lot of money. That's the best way of doing it."