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Hundreds of gardaí at risk of fines if they drive with blue lights and sirens

Garda representatives say a lack of investment in training means a large number of gardaí are not allowed to drive in this way.

Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

HUNDREDS OF GARDAÍ are at risk of fines if they drive a patrol car with blue lights and sirens, it was revealed today.

James Mulligan, newly elected vice president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), said today that none of the newest recruits coming out of Templemore have the training required.

He said a lack of investment in training over the last few years means a significant number of gardaí across the country are not allowed to drive with blue lights and sirens.

“They’re in a patrol car, they’re out in the daytime, the public are looking at them, they’re not allowed activate their blue lights or sirens, they’re not allowed break the rules of the road,” Mulligan explained.

If a member of the public sees a garda car ignoring something happening in front of them it doesn’t look well, it’s not good and it’s putting our members at risk of complaints and putting our members at risk of not being able to deal with what they should be dealing with.

It was revealed earlier today that the garda driving the patrol car that first responded to the Regency Hotel shooting was not allowed to use lights or sirens, to run red lights or break the speed limit.

The failure to train hundreds of gardaí for this type of driving has meant some officers have faced disciplinary action after using the lights to respond to an incident. This can result in a fine of up to two weeks’ wages.

Mulligan was speaking at the GRA’s annual delegate conference in Killarney, where delegates have also raised concerns about a lack of tactical training for members.

He said no uniformed gardaí have received training in how to approach an armed situation since 2003, despite the fact that unarmed members regularly deal with these kinds of incidents.

The delegates are due to debate over the next two days whether the force can continue unarmed amid threats of international terrorism and escalating gangland violence.

We’ll be reporting from this year’s GRA Annual Delegate Conference in Killarney over the next two days, so keep an eye out and follow @michellehtweet for updates.

Read: ‘They are mothers, they are fathers’: Unarmed gardaí ‘scared’ of gangs with guns>

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