Garda regional support units will be armed on a permanent basis following a review of the regional units, as part of a crackdown on criminal gangs, dissident terrorists groups and the rise in a number of incidents requiring the specialist garda units.
Following a review of the operations of all five Regional Support Units (RSU), Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has ordered that over 120 unformed gardai attached to specialist units nationwide will be permanently armed, a first for the force since its foundation.
The regional units were established in 2008 to act as response squads to deal with certain types of incidents, where those involved were either armed or presented some form of serious threat to themselves or the public. Up to now, the RSU’s, of which there is one attached to each Garda region outside Dublin were only permitted t carry guns on a part-time basis only.
The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) will continue to cover Dublin and focus on ‘high-end’ crime, targeting dissident terrorist groups and organised crime gangs while at the same time, it is intended to reduce the overall number of personnel who are licensed to carry firearms.
An increase in gun violence has partly prompted the decision to turn the units into permanently armed squads.
The move by the Garda Commissioner has been widely welcomed by politicians.
Jan 02 2014