Monday 21 October 2019

Extra gardai to be posted along border

New officers being posted not Brexit related, says Taoiseach

Extra gardai are to be posted along the border
Extra gardai are to be posted along the border

Olivia Ryan

Plans to post extra gardai along the border region are not Brexit related, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed last week.

Reports emerged over the last few days of plans to ensure a 24 hour armed garda presence in the border counties.

But, the additional policing measures are not linked to any preparations for the impact of Brexit, the Taoiseach told the Dail.

Instead, he said they are set to augment armed units which already operate out of stations in Dundalk, and Ballyshannon in Donegal, and are aimed at tackling cross border crime gangs.

Speaking in the Dail, Mr. Varadkar said: 'I have been informed by An Garda Síochána that in 2018, a cross-Border threat assessment was prepared jointly by An Garda Síochána and the PSNI. This assessment estimated that some 43% of organised crime gangs in Northern Ireland have a cross-Border dimension. Likewise mobile, organised crime groups responsible for multiple serious incidences of domestic burglary operate on an all-island basis.'

He added: 'There are also increasing incidences of borderless crimes such as cyberfraud and international terrorism. This is the context in which the Garda Commissioner made an operational decision to establish another regional armed support unit, which will be based in County Cavan.'

'The Commissioner has now established armed support units in each of the six Garda regions to provide an armed response capacity and capability on a regional basis to support and supplement the national emergency response unit.

In the northern region ASUs are currently based in Ballyshannon and Dundalk Garda stations serving all Garda divisions comprising the northern region.'

It was reported by the Irish Independent last week that training has almost been completed for additional officers to expand two existing units in order to allow gardai to provide a 24-hour armed service in the border counties.

Meanwhile, up to one-third of all probationers graduating out of the Garda College in Templemore are expected be allocated to the four divisions in the border region.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said during a Dail debate: 'I understand that a further 49 newly attested gardaí will be assigned to the northern region, which comprises the Border counties, but not the actual physical Border itself, which of course does not exist.'

'There is close and ongoing co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI. This measure consists of additional gardaí and an additional armed support unit for what are the Border counties, but not the Border per se. I believe this will be welcomed by people, in particular by those who have been subjected to burglaries, in that region.'

The Argus