€500,000 of riot gear ordered so gardaí won't have to share
An Garda Síochána is set to spend around €500,000 on batons and riot gear following a report that found public-order personnel were having to share clothing and equipment.
A review of public order policing by the Garda Inspectorate in April raised concerns that the "pooling" of equipment could create health and safety risks for members. It also noted that borrowed clothing "may not fit properly".
The policing authority is now seeking tenders for the supply of more than 2,000 items of riot gear and protective clothing, including hundreds of 26in batons, Kevlar riot gloves and blunt-trauma protectors for arms, legs and thighs.
The estimated value of the contract is €500,000 excluding VAT, and also includes 300 pairs of riot boots, 400 flame-retardant long-johns and 200 water bottles.
More than €80,000 was previously spent on riot gear by An Garda Síochána at the beginning of 2016, when it purchased a range of specialist equipment from Cork-based Anderco Safety (Ireland) Limited.
The current tender is also seeking 150 navy coveralls, which will be tailored for gardaí ranging in height from 5ft 1in to 6ft 5in. A total of 400 flame-retardant turtlenecks and 200 hard plastic batons will also be in the contract.
The Garda Inspectorate review in April noted that there were delays in issuing personal protective equipment (PPE) to members of the National Public Order Unit, and there were 73 members in need of specialist gear.
It also found that some equipment was reported to be beyond the manufacturer's recommended lifespan, and there had been equipment failures during training.
"It is of paramount importance that members are equipped with the proper personal protective equipment," said a spokesperson.