Number of gardaí carrying guns to be reduced following review

So far around 1,000 guns have already been withdrawn as more resources will be given to the emergency response unit and the armed response units.
Number of gardaí carrying guns to be reduced following review

The new process comes as a review last year found more than a quarter of gardaí had a firearms authorisation card.

The number of Gardaí carrying guns is being dramatically reduced.

It is part of an approach that will see specialist units almost exclusively providing armed response.

This new process comes as a review last year found more than a quarter of gardaí had a firearms authorisation card.

Many of these officers were working in desk jobs or non-frontline areas.

So far around 1,000 guns have already been withdrawn as more resources will be given to the emergency response unit and the armed response units.

However, Vice-President of the Garda Representative Association, Frank Thornton says it is a premature move.

"This is cart before the horse kind of stuff. Reducing the cardholders for detectives and yet the adequate supports are not in place."

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) believes a lot of people would be concerned if they knew how armed our police force is.

Doireann Ansbro, Senior Policy Officer with the ICCL, says there needs to be greater public awareness of how the weapons are used.

"If the gardaí are being armed to a greater extent than they have been previously, there needs to be a much greater public debate around that," said Ms Ansbro.

Sean Lynch is a former detective and he says removing firearms will leave officers more vulnerable.

"Every unit in every station and even members that are attached to country stations, they all should be able and qualified to carry firearms.

"Especially if they are active."

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