Some time ago, I wondered hereabouts how much the Garda PULSE system cost taxpayers. At the time, several media reports suggested a cost to date of €60m.

I didn’t know the half of it.

A parliamentary question from Jimmy Deenihan last year revealed that PULSE was originally projected to cost £36.5m (€46.4m) way back in 1993.

As it evolved, bells and whistles were added, so that by the time it went live in 2001, the cost rose to €61.3m.

Between 2001 and 2006, the system cost an average of €12.88m in ‘annual maintenance and upgrade costs’, giving a total of €138.58m by the end of 2006 for ‘contract resources, replacement of hardware, software upgrades and software licence fees.’

There are no figures for PULSE after 2006, since the costs were merged with other systems, including the Fixed Charge Processing System (traffic fines).

However, assuming it has not become cheaper over time, to date it has cost an additional €25.76m, making a total of €164.34m. The true cost is likely greater. Inflation hits computer consultancy services as much as any other field, particularly when it comes to public service contracts.

Now if only it worked.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. I met one of the people who designed Pulse a few years ago, I remember at the time being not overly impressed about my tax being spent on something that that yahoo was in any way connected with. Not too bright…

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