Garda may be issued with new weapons after Dublin killings

Heightened Garda presence in city as first of two funerals takes place on Monday

Members of the gardaí at a checkpoint on Cork Street, Dublin. Armed detectives and specialist units including the ERU will form part of the operation to deter any further attacks around the funerals. Photograph: Collins

Members of the gardaí at a checkpoint on Cork Street, Dublin. Armed detectives and specialist units including the ERU will form part of the operation to deter any further attacks around the funerals. Photograph: Collins

 

Members of the specialist Garda unit leading the response to armed crime gangs are seeking new weapons that would give it some of the capabilities of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and Regional Support Unit (RSU).

Members of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau are concerned they are not properly equipped to deal with the volatile criminals they encounter during searches and other anti-gang operations.

And after two significant factions launched separate gun attacks over the last eight days that left four men wounded, two of them fatally, sources said members of the bureau want “immediate progress” on their demands.

They are requesting taser stun guns and MP7 high velocity personal defence weapons.

In a statement issued through Garda headquarters, the force said its firearms capability was being considered.

“As part of a wider programme An Garda Síochána is currently reviewing its armed capacity and response capability,” the statement said.

Powerful firearms

While the MP7s are powerful firearms that can pierce armour. Sources say the stun guns – used to subdue violent criminals – were likely to be used more often. Members of the bureau have already been trained to use tasers but have not been provided with them, unlike the ERU and RSU.

Gardaí are to begin mounting a heightened security operation this evening in a bid to minimise the risk of further gun attacks around the funerals of David Byrne and Eddie Hutch.

Father-of-two David Byrne, who was killed at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, eight days ago is to be waked and his parents’ home in Crumlin tomorrow evening ahead of his funeral on Monday.

Garda sources said a security operation would need to be put in place in the south inner city on Monday morning and into the afternoon, when Mr Byrne’s funeral mass takes place at St Nicholas of Myra Church, Francis Street, before burial at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross.

There was concern in Garda circles last night that social occasions around the funeral may give rise to more violence.

A high-visibility presence of unarmed uniformed gardaí along with armed detectives and specialist units including the ERU will form part of the operation to deter any further attacks. The Public Order Unit, or riot squad, was also expected to be on standby.

Boxing weigh-in

Mr Byrne (33) was shot dead when a group of armed men, some dressed in Garda special operations-style uniforms and carrying AK 47s, burst into a boxing tournament weigh-in the Regency Hotel last Friday, February 4th.

As two Independent News & Media journalists remained away from their homes under threat from one of the feuding gangs, NewsBrands Ireland, representing 16 national newspaper titles, said it “vigorously condemned” the threats.

It said journalists “perform a hugely important function in helping society to value truth . . . It is vital that all journalists working for a free press are enabled to carry out their duties without fear and intimidation.”