Gardai at Dublin Airport told not to visibly carry weapons as it might 'alarm' the public
Gardai at Dublin airport have been told "don't visibly carry firearms" because it might alarm the public.
Independent.ie has learned that just over a month after terrorists set off two bombs at Brussels airport and another at a metro station in the city our own police force has been warned not to panic Irish jet-setters.
Senior sources explained that a verbal order was given to officers working at Dublin airport not to carry visible firearms in recent days.
Furthermore gardai were ordered not to wear so-called ‘Raid jackets’ when on duty at the airport.
A senior source revealed: ”In the aftermath of Brussels there were concerns raised about security at Dublin airport.
“However gardai working at the airport, including officers in the Garda National Immigration Bureau, were given an order in the last number of days not to visibly carry weapons or wear their Raid jackets.
“The reason given for this was that it might alarm the public.
“Now, if an armed person causes a disturbance at the airport, officers are expected to tackle them with pepper spray.”
Thirty-two people were killed in the three bomb attacks at Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station and many more were injured on March 22.
The bombings, carried out by ISIS terrorists, caused major international concern and led to calls for increased armed policing at Dublin Airport.
Reports had suggested that armed gardaí were to take up an overt armed presence at the airport and Dublin Port for the first time.
It had been claimed that a new garda Regional Support Unit for the capital was to be created and tasked, among other things, with providing a visible armed presence at both facilities.
It is unclear where this current plan stands but for the moment officers have been warned not to carry the Heckler & Koch MP7.
A spokesman for An Garda Siochana said: "The policing of Dublin Airport is provided out both overtly and covertly commensurate with the current threat level."
Delegates at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) will this week discuss a motion from the Donegal Division which asks if it is "realistic" for An Garda Síochána to "maintain the concept" of continuing to be an unarmed force.
While similar motions regarding the arming of the force have been discussed and rejected by the GRA, garda representatives say that "attitudes are changing" amongst the rank and file.
"The murders of Adrian Donohoe and Tony Golden, as well as a general increase in violent attacks on gardaí means that attitudes are changing," said one GRA delegate.