Thursday 19 October 2017

Adrian might be alive if he had an Uzi, conference told

Tom Brady Security Editor

MURDERED detective garda Adrian Donohoe might have survived his confrontation with a credit union hold-up gang if he had been armed with an Uzi submachine gun, a conference has heard.

The startling claim was made at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), where delegates unanimously backed a demand for the return of the Israeli weapon which had been in use in the force for more than 40 years before its withdrawal two years ago.

Det Gda Donohoe was shot dead when he was ambushed by raiders as he was sitting in an unmarked patrol car escorting cash from the Lordship Credit Union, outside Dundalk, last January.

He had stepped out of the vehicle to investigate why the exit to the car park had been blocked by a car, when members of the gang jumped over a wall and opened fire.

At the time he was armed with a handgun, which has replaced the Uzi since a review by the garda authorities.

The conference in Sligo heard yesterday that his life might have been saved if he had an Uzi.

A senior member of the association's national executive, Walter Kilcullen, said: "What happened that night might not have happened if he had been armed with an Uzi."

Members of the Emergency Response Unit and the Regional Support Units are now all armed with Heckler and Koch MP7s, a more modern submachine gun, which is capable of firing ammunition that can penetrate body armour.

But association delegates said they believed the Uzi provided them with better protection.

Donegal delegates said the Uzi had been withdrawn for financial reasons, although its firepower meant it acted as a deterrent to armed gangs – and one suggested the decision should be referred to the Health and Safety Authority.

A Cork-based member of a regional support unit, Danny Coughlan, said there was a need for a weapon like an Uzi.

Mr Kilcullen said the appearance of an Uzi was more intimidating and it could only be more beneficial to the safety of the public when gardai were armed with a weapon that was more accurate.

However, some senior officers say the Uzi is not the most suitable weapon for an urban environment and the Sig handgun is a more appropriate weapon.

Irish Independent

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