Call for gardai to get better training and resources to tackle gangsters

The GRA's Ciaran O'Neill

Robin Schiller

The incoming Garda Representative Association (GRA) president Ciaran O'Neill said that the recent spate of gangland murders underlined the need for the strengthening of armed resources.

Garda O'Neill, who is a detective attached to the elite Special Detective Unit (SDU), also said that uniformed gardai have not received tactical training in the last 13 years. He added that gardai were expected to respond to armed incidents armed "with an asp (extendable baton), pepper spray and a stab-proof vest".

The GRA conference in Killarney also heard criticism of the Garda's computer system, which is 17 years old.

It has emerged that armed garda units were near the Sunset House when dissident republican Michael Barr (36) was gunned down.


Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony - who is in charge of Crime and Security for An Garda Siochana - said that armed gardai were on patrol in the city centre on Monday night. They were in the vicinity of the Summerhill premises at the time of the fatal shooting.

"I think it is important to say that there are armed patrols on a 24/7 basis in the city," he said.

"Last night (Monday) an armed patrol was only around the corner from the shooting when it took place. I think it is indicative of the challenges that we are facing that people are willing to go and commit a crime of this nature despite the presence or close presence of armed gardai."

It has emerged that armed detectives in the Crumlin area have also been ordered to patrol on a 24/7 basis.

Assistant Commissioner O'Mahony also revealed that garda units foiled a murder bid last week.

"There are obviously challenges. That being said on a regular basis we are preventing murders. Only last week in an incident we had to take preventative measures to save a person, who will probably never know that they were a target on that particular night, but these things are happening on a regular basis," O'Mahony said.