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"The uniform no longer gives protection" - Gardaí call for more firepower amid gang feud

GRA’s Dermot O’Brien says that the force ‘doesn’t have the resources’.

Image: Julien Behal

THE UNION REPRESENTING gardaí has said plainly that the force does not have enough resources to deal with the upsurge in gangland violence.

After two men were shot dead in the space of three days as part of a Dublin underworld feud, the Garda Representative Association also wants more firepower for specialist armed units.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, GRA President Dermot O’Brien says that gardaí simply aren’t being given enough support.

“In your intro it stated we have plenty of resources. I’m stating clearly and unambiguously this morning that we don’t have the resources,” he said.

“We’re seeking the introduction the RSU for the Dublin region, that has been sought for a long time by the GRA.”

The Garda RSU is the force’s Regional Support Unit which is armed and ready to respond to incidents 24-hours-a-day.

O’Brien also said that specialist trained units need to be better equipped. The force’s use of the Uzi submachine gun was stopped four years ago but O’Brien says that this has not been replaced.

We’re also looking for the immediate introduction of the MP7 submachine gun for the DDU and the return of the Uzi submachine gun until the MP7 is introduced. That was taken away in 2012 and hasn’t been replaced.

Friday’s shooting dead of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin has led to questions about why gardaí were not present at an event where known criminals were due to attend.

Responding to questions about this, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that this was an operational matter for the force, but insisted it was not due to a lack of resources

O’Brien however says that the lack of resources is an issue, adding that pay cuts have also hurt morale in the force.

“These members were out there in the middle of Storm Imogen over the past few nights having to do checkpoints. And these are anxious times and they’re on hight alert and fatigued,” he said.

We have to be treated differently to everyone in society, because the uniform no longer gives protection. We have to wear stab vests, we’ve ASPs (batons) and pepper spray and handcuffs. These are not fashion accessories, nobody else in Ireland has to wear these things going to work.

O’Brien then repeated that resources is the primary issue, adding that the starting pay for young gardaí is also unfair given the job they do.

“Overtime is being thrown at this at the moment and the reason overtime is being thrown at this is because we haven’t got the resources. And we keep coming back to the fact that we haven’t got enough resources. Also, we’ve a two-tier pay system, you’re bringing young people into the job on €23,000. It’s unfair to put these people out there.”

Read: Gardaí fear all-out “war” in Dublin following shooting of Eddie Hutch >

Read: Conflicting claims over Continuity IRA’s involvement in Drumcondra shooting >

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Rónán Duffy

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