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An Garda Síochána

Garda public order units to be armed with tasers, Commissioner tells TDs

Before now, only a small number of specially-trained firearm gardaí carried tasers.

PUBLIC ORDER GARDAÍ who complete required training will be issued with tasers as part of efforts to have the force better equipped to manage crowds and violence.

Additionally, stronger incapacitant spray, or pepper spray, which until now was only available to public order units, will be given to all gardaí as part of their “operational day-to-day equipment”.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Policing Matters, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that 200 tasers will be distributed to units. Last Thursday afternoon, around 220 public order unit gardaí were available to respond to violence in Dublin.

“Tasers are already provided to all firearms specialist areas including the ERU (Emergency Response Unit), as well as the special detective unit,” he said.

Harris said that it has become clear that we are seeing a “different kind of disorder” in Dublin, following Thursday night, and that the gardaí approach to policing disorder therefore needs to evolve too. 

The unrest intensified on Thursday – starting with heckling from protest groups, and then graduated to a luas being halted on the tracks by a group, and a large group attempted to breach the cordon at the crime scene on Parnell Square East, who were repelled by Gardaí. 

Gardaí clarified that approximately 500 people were involved in the rioting.

Harris said the “intense violence that took place was shocking and distressing”, but he added that on the same night “calm was being restored immediately as gardaí were deployed”. 

He also said that thanks to gardaí “routine and necessary policing was also continuing throughout the rest of the city” and Dublin was open for business the following morning. 

Garda leadership is putting together a business case for the procurement of two water cannons.

Two water cannons were sent to An Garda Síochána from the police service in Northern Ireland last Friday.

With reporting by Eimer McAuley and Niall O’Connor