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Disagreement on the administration front over arming the Garda

Dublin: Disagreement on the administration front over arming the Garda. Fianna Fail and Green Party leaders were enraged by Leo Varadkar’s response that he would support the idea of an armed force if Garda Commissioner Drew Harris requested it. Garda organisations did not support Varadkar. All of them responded that there was no need for now.

Following the attack on Garda officers in Dublin, there has been discussion about the need for the country to have an armed force. Varadkar responded that when such a question was raised, it was unquestionably necessary and that if the commissioner asked for it, he would grant it.

Spokespeople for Prime Minister Micheal Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan have come out in strong language against the response.

Both highlighted the benefits of an unarmed force while emphasising that the history of Ireland’s Gardai is not one of armed forces. Martin’s spokesman also stated that specialised armed units were in place to deal with gang crime and violence. According to the spokesman, the Commission on the Future of Policing had also not recommended arming the garda.

Ryan’s spokesman explained that there is no need to arm all officers and that people should be won over by moral authority as public servants, not by force of arms.

Antoinette Cunningham, general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), said existing specialist units needed to be expanded and not arming all Gardaí.

Brendan O’Connor, president of the Garda Representative Association, said he was not in favour of arming the Garda and wanted more armed officers to be available when needed.

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