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Topical Issue Debate
22 June 2017
The need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to make a statement on the position in relation to armed Gardaí in Cork.
Deputy Billy Kelleher
Opening Statement by Minister of State, David Stanton TD on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD
On behalf of the Minister, I would like to thank the Deputy for raising this matter.
The Government is determined that the Gardaí will have the resources they need to tackle to tackle all forms of criminality in our communities.
At the outset, the Deputy will appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner and her management team who are responsible for the distribution of Garda resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and the Minister has no direct role in the matter.
The Minister is informed by the Garda Commissioner that arrangements are currently in place with Detective personnel to ensure the capacity and capability for An Garda Síochána to respond to an armed or critical incident in Cork City, and its environs on a 24/7 basis.
As the Deputy will be aware Armed Response Units were established on a Regional basis in order to provide an armed response capacity and capability on a regional basis and in support of and to supplement the national Emergency Response Unit.
Members of the ARU are highly trained and equipped with a variety of non-lethal and lethal weapons and perform high visibility armed checkpoints and patrols throughout their respective Regions.
In the event of an armed incident or similar outrage armed Detective members from local District and Divisional units will respond, as will the Armed Response Units, which are based in each Garda Region. Should the incident be escalated and further armed support be required the Garda Emergency Response Unit is also available and they, too, are highly trained and especially equipped to respond to the most serious incident or terrorist threat.
In order to ensure and maintain the capability and capacity of Armed Support Units, a competition to select, train and allocate additional personnel for the Regional Armed Response Units outside the Dublin Metropolitan Region, has recently been commenced.
In the interim the Minister has been advised that tactical awareness training, including the provision of equipment, is ongoing in the Southern Region for detective Garda personnel. The Minister has also been advised that discussions are ongoing with the relevant authorities for the training of the next tranche of identified personnel which is expected to commence shortly.