The garda chief superintendent for Louth has said that he has never had any difficulty securing the services of the Emergency Response Unit.
Chief Supt Christy Mangan was responding to a claim by the Garda Representative Association (GRA) that the Emergency Response Unit does not have the officers, resources, training or equipment to provide adequate armed back-up when required.
Speaking on the Michael Reade show on local radio station LMFM, the chief superintendent said: “I have never had any difficulty in securing the services of the ERU - they will be here at a moment's notice for me, let it be 3 o'clock in the day or 3 o'clock in the morning - they have been here.
“I'm never shy about saying when we don't have enough resources - I would always be very frank with the public - if there was a problem I would say it.
“I've read reports where there are complaints about responses from armed people, we have armed people there very quickly.”
Referring to the recent shooting of a taxi driver in Dundalk, Chief Supt Mangan added: “They were there so quickly that they were able to administer medical support to the injured party, and that's why our armed support people are highly trained - intervening until the ambulance crews arrive, they will take it up from there.
“In relation to the Emergency Response Unit - they have provided huge support to us in this town and in other parts of the county, in relation to incidents that take place - they will be there on a planned basis.
"I have sought the Emergency Response Unit on a number of occasions in relation to matters that we would consider they should be here for.
“If I had information that there was going to be a possible attack I certainly would seek the services of the ERU and I've never ever been refused the services of the ERU.
"They are a highly trained, highly specialised group of people and they provide very good support for us, we also have considerable number of armed support people, detectives.
“There may be internal complaints that I know nothing about, when they come here, they are suited and booted and well able to do the job that I ask them to do on a regular basis.
"I have made requests at 2 o'clock in the morning and they have turned up and done a lot of good work for me.”
In relation to the murder of local teenager Keane Mulready-Woods, he said the investigation straddles three divisions and is now a major investigation with three detective units involved and officers carrying out house-to-house inquiries, crime scene examinations, forensic testing.
I appeal to other people in possession of information in relation to where Keane went, who he met and ultimately what happened to him and where, they're the important things we're trying to establish.
He said he suspected that the teen was killed in Drogheda and investigations are now trying to narrow down the exact time period.
“The remains were transported to other areas, that takes a certain level of support by a number of people, you have to question whether somebody could do that on their own.
"Or do they need logistical support.
“The missing remains makes it very, very difficult for Keane's family, they are endeavouring to plan for a funeral, that's not easy when all the remains of Keane are not there.
"That's a very sensitive issue and we're dealing with the family in relation to that.
“We want people to know they can talk to us in confidence - there are a number of avenues to impart information.
“We do need the support of the community to give us information, we need to stand together and deal forcibly with the people who are intent on causing maximum damage.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), Antoinette Cunningham has said that the force needs the resources for all units to be at full capacity at all times.
Society is changing and becoming more violent and the garda force needs to be able to respond to that challenge, she told RTÉ Radio’s.
The safety of the public and members of the force must be a priority, she added, which was why a full capacity response was needed.
Ms Cunningham was responding to a letter from the Garda Representative Association (GRA) which claimed the garda’s specialist Emergency Response Unit does not have the officers, resources, training or equipment to provide adequate armed back-up when required.
She rejected the suggestion that the letter was “scare mongering” in response to a clamp down on over time. “This is a very real concern.”
Both the AGSI and the GRA had been vocal in expressing concerns about training and resources for some time, she said.
Ms Cunningham said she accepted the comments of Louth based Chief Supt Christy Mangan.
The issue of concern, she said, was availability of the ERU for “spontaneous, urgent, hostile incidents.
“We need full capacity resources at all times for all units.”