Gardaí say their ability to serve communities is being seriously hampered because they do not have enough patrol cars.

The Department of Justice issued a statement saying: "Garda authorities have confirmed they are satisfied that a comprehensive policing service continues to be provided throughout the country".

However, the Garda Representative Association says it has lost confidence in the Government's handling of crime and policing.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, GRA President John Parker said that in many instances patrol cars have been grounded.

He said that capacity to police outlying rural and urban areas has been seriously reduced.

Mr Parker added that this is a national problem and denied that he was scaremongering or endangering communities by publicly raising the issue.