The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) also said many gardaí were not trained to deal with armed criminals, some of whom brandish assault rifles and sub-machine guns.
The AGSI unanimously backed motions on the subject of Garda armed units from Roscommon/Louth and Cork City branches at their annual conference yesterday in Trim, Co Meath.
Roscommon/Longford delegate Michael Hogan said criminals did not appear to have any difficulty obtaining firearms, often brought into the country as “sweeteners” in drug shipments.
“We as a force should have the capacity and capability to deal with this threat in any part of the country, day or night,” said Mr Hogan.
“Unfortunately, however, this is not the case.
“Every regular unit in districts around the country should have the capability and capacity to immediately arm trained and authorised garda should the need arise.
“Give more gardaí on regular units the training, equipment, and authorisation to carry firearms, if required, on duty.
“After all, they are generally first on the scene of any armed incident.”
The conference also backed a motion from Cork City delegate Danny Colohan that all gardaí authorised to carry firearms receive mandatory tactical firearms training.
He said members carrying firearms were regularly tasked with close protection of VIPs, witnesses, and persons under threat.
“There is a specific course that trains people to undertake close protection, which the vast majority are not trained,” said Mr Colohan.
He said that, following a rise in gangland activity, the standard response was to increase armed patrols.
“These patrols are carried out in an effort to curb such activity. These are carried out in the absence of any tactical training or the absence of access to a greater level of firepower or less lethal weapons.
“In recent months, detectives in Cork have responded to an active shooter and to a separate incident which required them to enter a building which contained a suspected gunman.”