Your choice: Gardai should be armed
TWO out of every three people believe gardai should be armed, according to an online poll carried out by the Irish Independent.
The poll, which is part of the newspaper’s ‘Choices’ campaign, asked people whether or not the Garda Síochána should become an armed force.
Some 66pc of those who took part in the poll said they thought gardai should be armed, with only 34 pc of voters stating they thought it should remain an unarmed force.
Responding to the result, a spokesperson for the Garda Representatives Association (GRA) said: "This figure of 66% is higher than previously seen. Other polls have shown that 75% of people believe the gardai to be under resourced. With 800 gardai seriously assaulted last year, gardai need to be protected by the State, and public opinion is in agreement. An attack on a garda is a direct attack on society.
"We are not asking for all gardai to be routinely armed, but we certainly welcome meaningful debate on garda resourcing and protection, garda numbers and increased armed patrols and support units."
The issue of arming gardai has been in the spotlight recently following a spate of attacks on gardai.
On Monday, the Irish Independent reported garda management were considering the widespread deployment of taser stun guns in the face of rising injuries to gardai. Around 800 members of the force require hospital or medical treatment for injuries sustained in the line of duty every year.
In January of this year, Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot and killed by an armed gang after a robbery of a credit union in Lordship, Co Louth.
The 41 year old father of two was the first on-duty garda to be killed in 17 years.
It has since been claimed if Detective Donohoe had been armed with an Uzi machine gun, he may not have been killed. At the recent AGSI annual conference, garda sergeants and inspectors called on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to reverse the withdrawal of Uzi machine guns from detectives.
Uzi machine guns were withdrawn from garda sergeants in March of last year.