The Guards And The Gun


Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

Further to the incident in Longford last night.

Last month, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan:

‘What  the level of firearm training provided to armed Garda personnel in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; the number of gardaí by grade or rank with firearms training; the type of weapon they are trained to carry and or use; the company engaged to provide training; the cost of training on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.’

In a written reply, Mr Flanagan said:

The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including by arranging for the training of its members and civilian staff and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

Training is provided by Firearms Instructors attached to the Garda College and the Emergency Response Unit under the control of the Director of Training, Garda College.

Following a recent audit conducted at the Garda College figures show there are approximately 2700 personnel that are currently authorised to carry firearms.

This can increase to approx. 3500 depending on operational requirements. This caters for all ranks of Gardaí who carry firearms.

Members attached to regular units and Detective units are trained in handguns only, namely Smith & Wesson revolver, Sig Sauer & Walther semi-automatic pistol.

Specialist Units such as Emergency Response Unit and the Armed Support Unit are trained in Sig Pistol, H&K MP7 Sub-machine gun, Taser and 40mm direct impact munitions (Less Lethal options).

For the Deputy’s information listed below are figures for attendance at firearms training in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to 31st August 2018.

2016 – 7851
2017 – 10555
2018 – 6891 as of 31st August 2018

The increase in 2017 is as a result of the increase in ASU (Armed Support Unit). Each member attends more than one training course each year.

Earlier: Meanwhile, In Longford


22 thoughts on “The Guards And The Gun

  1. Vehicle

    I wonder what the minister’s thoughts are on filming Gardaí after this?
    If it wasn’t filmed, I can only imagine how fast Dave Taylor’s replacement would be spinning it right now. Would have all been hushed up and a good dash of victim blaming thrown in.

    1. Kieran

      The spinning is already in full effect…

      No sign of it on the IT’s front page or in Irish News section and there’s this in the Independent. The dog gets a higher billing than the man in the article.

      Man (20s) injured and dog killed after garda discharges firearm.
      Ken Foy
      December 3 2018 9:33 PM
      A dog was shot dead by a garda in an incident in which a man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg when a bullet from the officer’s gun ricocheted.
      The incident unfolded at a property in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford at around 6pm on Monday when gardai entered the property.
      Sources said the officer felt “compelled” to shoot the “aggressive” Alsatian dog because he feared that it was about to attack him.
      The young man (20s) who suffered minor injuries to his leg is from Co. Longford.
      He is being treated for his non life threatening injuries in hospital.
      Both gardaí and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission are investigating the incident.
      Gardai say they attended an incident as part of an ongoing investigation.
      “During the course of this incident an official Garda firearm was discharged,” a garda spokesman said.
      GSOC say investigators were deployed to the scene.

  2. Liza \]Lu

    A bigger issue than gun control here. Guards using their positions for non-Garda matters has long needed to be looked at. But now we’re giving them guns, that becomes imperative. Drew Harris needs to set out a Garda position on both. Gardai need to know the remit in which they’re operating and ordinary citizens need to know that they can get involved in disputes with friends of guards without being shot. There is an even bigger issue and that’s the ‘them v us’ attitude of the Gardai, if it was a situation where the Gardai understood their role vis a vis citizens then this would never have arisen in the first place.

  3. Eoin

    3,700 authorised (and presumably taking every advantage of that authorisation) to carry firearms – 20% of the Gardai? Rising to 25% “depending on operational requirements”. Makes a mockery of what Charlie Flanagan said last month.

    “The Deputy will be aware that An Garda Síochána, is a largely unarmed police service which polices our people by consent, and has a proud tradition of being a community police service by fostering close links with the communities it serves. A Garda Síochána remains committed to that principle and that of its first Commissioner Michael Staines who stated ‘The Garda Síochána will succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on their moral authority as servants of the people’.”

    1. Cian

      “An Garda Síochána is a largely unarmed police service”

      80% (dropping to 75%) of An Garda Síochána are not authorised to carry firearms.

      These statements are both true.

    2. Rob_G

      How many controversial shooting incidents have an Gardaí been involved in? The last one that I can recall is the Abbeylara siege 20 years’ ago.

      Now, it would be better if they were involved in zero controversial incidents with firearms, but I think their track record is quite good.

      1. Cian

        There was also the bloke that murdered Jastine Valdez was shot[1] by Gardaí in Cherrywood earlier this year.

        [1] dead

        1. Rob_G

          Yes – personally I think that was a prudent decision; yer man was running around a shopping centre with a knife or something, AFAIR

  4. A Person

    How can the Soc Dems get such an easy and rapid platform on here? Oh right …..What that guard did, on the face of it, was appalling. But why do BS seem t have a baton against the guards?

    1. Hansel

      I don’t think BS are half as negative towards the gardai as some people I know tbh.

      They’re supposed to protect and serve us, but time and time again their strongest instincts seem to be to protect and server themselves. It’s a very sick organisation and has been for some time. I’m always extremely wary of any interaction with a serving member of the force, personally.

      1. Liza \]Lu

        In their hostile attitude to the public they are like an occupying force. Ireland was effectively an occupied country pre-1922 with army garrisons throughout and the RIC very unpopular. Did the Gardai inherit this attitude on independence?

        1. rotide

          “In their hostile attitude to the public they are like an occupying force”

          No they aren’t. Go away.

          1. rotide

            If that’s what counts as ‘discredited’ in your world Phil, You should stay away from the youtube documentarys.

  5. gringo

    Brendan Behan was right when he said that there was no situation so dismal that could not be made worse by the addition of a policeman.

  6. Giggidygoo

    Was this Garda trained in the use of firearms, or did he borrow one in order to assist in the favour?

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