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National Public Order Unit to deal with 'potential public unease' during coronavirus outbreak

It comes as a senior garda warned that organised criminal gangs could “attempt to take advantage” during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Members of the Garda Public Order Unit. File photo.
Members of the Garda Public Order Unit. File photo.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

A FULL-TIME National Public Order Unit has been deployed by the Gardaí in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The unit is made up of 100 gardaí and it is tasked with responding to any public order incidents as well as performing high visibility pro-active patrols in support of uniformed members. 

A Garda spokesman said that this is not a significant escalation in policing but it is “prudent in the current climate of potential public unease and disquiet as the Covid-19 situation develops.”

Garda public order units are regularly deployed to deal with public order and assault related offences.

The force has had full-time public order capability in the Dublin Metropolitan Region since Thursday, which is normal during bank holiday weekends. Current plans are to keep the national unit in place for duration of Covid-19 public health emergency. 

The spokesperson added that it is logistically easier to nominate people on a “temporarily permanent” basis rather than resourcing units daily.

Allocating Gardaí in this way also protects against the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus within the organisation.

The public order unit was part of the response to a serious incident involving up to 30 youths in the Cherry Orchard area of West Dublin on Sunday evening. 

Drugs seizure

In that same area last night, a man in his 20s was arrested after gardaí discovered a quantity of cocaine at a house in Cherry Orchard near Ballyfermot.

A substantial quantity of the drug was seized along with encrypted communications devices during the search.

The male (29) was in the premises at the time. He was arrested and is being detained at Clondalkin Garda Station under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996.

89912096_10157921161253001_4065008910111604736_n The drugs seized yesterday in Cherry Orchard Source: An Garda Síochána

Gardaí said the search was conducted as part of an “ongoing intelligence-led investigation targeting serious crime” in an organised crime group.

The searches were carried out by officers attached to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the Special Crime Task Force.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who heads the gardaí’s special crime operations, said: “The Garda Síochána is alert to the fact that particular criminals and organised crime groups may continue to operate while we are tackling issues associated with the existence of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) or may attempt to take advantage of its existence.

For this purpose, each of the bureaus within special crime operations is targeting particular criminals and OCGs who are known or suspected to engage in a wide range of criminal activity and will continue to do so until the virus no longer represents a problem within the communities we serve.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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Ceimin Burke

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