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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Should all gardaí be armed? The nation's split on the question

Support for arming gardaí is strongest among younger age groups, according to a poll carried out for TheJournal.ie.

Detective Garda Shay O'Donnell with samples of weapons seized in 2014 and 2015.
Detective Garda Shay O'Donnell with samples of weapons seized in 2014 and 2015.
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE QUESTION OF whether rank-and-file gardaí should be armed is being debated at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association this week, as officers meet in Killarney.

It’s a topical issue, coming in the wake of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks – and as a gangland feud continues in Dublin.

Opinion appears divided in the force itself – and when it comes to the wider population, there’s an almost 50 – 50 split between those in favour of arming all gardaí, and those against.

The latest TheJournal.ie/Amárach poll in association with Claire Byrne Live asked, simply, ‘Should all gardaí be armed?‘.

The responses showed 44% in favour and 43% against with 13% undecided.

More males than females answered no: 48% of men were against arming all members of the force, as opposed to 38% of women.

Support for arming the entire force was stronger among younger age groups – with just over half of 18- to 24-year-olds in favour of all gardaí having guns. Among those aged 55 plus, that number fell to 31%.

Note: This poll was conducted before last night’s shooting in Dublin took place.

Read: Can Ireland continue to operate without an armed police force?

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