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GRA seeks 'urgent' meeting with Commissioner over resourcing of Emergency Response Unit

Garda management has rejected claims that the force’s armed support capability is not sufficient.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE GARDA REPRESENTATIVE Association (GRA) has said it is seeking an “urgent meeting” with the Garda Commissioner regarding the resourcing of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

In a letter sent by one of its central executive committee members to the detective superintendent in charge of the unit, it was claimed that the number of armed patrols by this unit have been reduced and that the minimum number of ERU officers are not always on duty to perform tactical stops or interventions.

The Irish Daily Star reports the letter cited an example last week in which gardaí in Drogheda, who are working to tackle a violent feud, were waiting for hours for armed back up.

It is reported that the letter also claimed there are 21 vacancies in the unit to be filled – and four of those have been assigned to protect Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

Responding to reports today, Louth Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan told LMFM said he has sought the ERU on a number of occasions in relation to “matters I would consider they should be here for”. 

“If I had information there was going to be a possible attack, I certainly would seek the services of the ERU and I’ve never ever been refused the services of the ERU.”

This morning, the GRA said this letter was “internal correspondence and should not have been placed in the public domain”.

It has requested a meeting with the Commissioner, to discuss concerns raised in the correspondence. 

A garda spokesperson confirmed management received correspondence from the GRA today, but added that it was inappropriate for it to make “direct comment at this time” as it refers to operational matters. 

He said the force has a number of specialist teams providing firearms and less lethal responses to incidents, including the ERU and the Armed Support Init (ASU). 

“An Garda Síochána Armed support capability, capacity and training has significantly increased in recent years. An Garda Síochána is satisfied that there is currently a specialist firearms response capability to any critical firearms incidents that may occur in the state.”

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