Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

'Extremely worrying': Fears raised over understaffing of Dublin Armed Support Unit

At times, around 75% of the recommended numbers are actually out policing the capital.

Image: Sam Boal via

SERIOUS CONCERNS HAVE been raised over the lack of resources attached to the Garda Armed Support Unit in Dublin following multiple transfers and promotions.

The ASU is a dedicated armed unit which focuses on high-visibility patrolling of areas which have been vulnerable to violent crime. It has been an extremely important cog of the effort to dismantle the Kinahan cartel’s operation in Dublin.

There have been several incidents of having to use overtime to fill minimum requirements for the ASU in recent months, according to multiple sources.

The result of this means that the overtime budget for the unit is being chipped away. It also means that more pressure is being heaped on the unit with the same number of people doing more work – finishing their regular number of hours for the week and then having to put in for extra hours as overtime.

The lack of adequate resourcing means that the unit is often understaffed and more pressure is being heaped on those who make up the elite force.

At times, sources said, only around 75% of the recommended numbers – as set out by management – are actually out policing the capital. 

There are ASUs in all garda regions. Dublin’s ASU, which usually responds to organised crime and serious incidents, has around 50-60 members.

Garda management, in keeping with protocol, does not speak about the allocation of resources. The Garda Press Office did not provide answers to specific questions about the Dublin unit sent by this website. 

However, multiple sources have told The Journal that there have been delays in the ASU getting to serious incidents as a result of the lack of personnel.

The lack of staffing within the ASU in Dublin comes at a time when gangland tensions are increasing, especially in the Finglas area of north Dublin which saw its first gangland murder in over a year with the shooting death of James Whelan at the start of the month.

A competition has been running since 2019 to fill the numbers in the ASU. During this period, there have been several delays to those proceedings due to Covid-19 and other factors. 

A focus on setting up other units within the force was also cited as a reason for delays, sources said. Some Garda members who were successful in the latest recruitment process are still awaiting training to they can join the unit. 

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Garda Representative Association (GRA) rep Ciarán O’Neill told The Journal that there needs to be more done quickly to ensure that the ASU is brought up to full capacity.

He said: “The Armed Support Unit is there to provide an urgent armed response to support our frontline members when needed.

“It is extremely worrying for both gardaí and the public we serve that this unit is not operating at full capacity.

“There is now an urgent need for the members successful in the recent recruitment process to the ASU to be adequately trained to provide an appropriate backup for our members on the frontline.”

About the author:

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel