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Bullet-proof vehicles for SWAT unit

THE Garda's elite SWAT team is being specially equipped with bullet-proof vehicles for use in an Abbeylara-style siege.

A "number" of the armoured vehicles -- understood to be armoured Nissan Patrols -- have been bought for the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

The vehicles would be used in a so-called "barricade incident" like that in Abbeylara, Co Longford, where ERU members shot dead John Carthy, who was armed with a shotgun, in 2000.

The Garda Inspectorate had recommended that a minimum of three armoured rescue vehicles be bought "to ensure safe evacuation of hostages, civilians or police officers and facilitate safe deliveries to the siege location."

The Garda Press Office, asked about the origin, type and cost of the new vehicles, said: "For security and operational reasons it would not be appropriate to comment or identify equipment in use by the ERU."