Tuesday 19 November 2019

Armed gardai

• Why are the gardai unarmed?

If you went to any other country in the world, and explained to them the seriousness of gun and knife crime in this country, people would be wide-eyed in shock when you went on to explain how our police force is unarmed.

In this day and age, most crimes, burglaries, assaults, etc are carried out by criminals with weapons, most commonly knives and guns.

With this in mind, it seems ludicrous to me that only a small number of our gardai are entitled to carry guns.

To ask the gardai to fight crime unarmed in a world with heavily armed criminals is like asking Galway to win the All-Ireland Hurling Championship without hurls. I know who my money would be on if that was the case!

I understand there is an armed response unit within the gardai but as far as I'm aware, it is not readily available at the drop of a hat if a situation arises for gardai on the beat.

If gardai on foot are patrolling O'Connell Street in Dublin, and a serious situation arises with armed criminals, no amount of batons is going to help apprehend gun-wielding offenders. By the time an armed unit could be deployed, the offenders may have fled with ease, or an innocent member of the gardai would be seriously injured or worse.

I find it irresponsible and extremely old fashioned that our police force, who are trying to protect our citizens and earn an honest living, are subjected to undue danger because we refuse to arm them.

I fear it will take a garda being shot dead to put the skates under Alan Shatter and his department and make changes that fit the times. I hope I'm wrong; but if it was my decision, I wouldn't wait around to find out.

Justin Kelly
Edenderry, Co Offaly

Irish Independent

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