A number of the points raised by the Deputy are the subject of consideration on the terms of reference on the Barr tribunal. I emphasise that the three types of less lethal weapons to which I referred are to be given to the Garda emergency response unit in substitution for firearms. From a civil liberties and individual rights point of view, we are talking of giving the Garda alternatives to using firearms. I appreciate that some of these less lethal weapons can be dangerous, but there is nothing as dangerous as the use of firearms in terms of the armoury available to the Garda Síochána. What we want to do, and what the Garda Commissioner is anxious to do, is to provide equipment less lethal than firearms for the Garda to use in appropriate circumstances. Obviously, the best solution involves persuasion by means of megaphones and so on, and psychology and counselling, when dealing with the difficult situations to which the Deputy refers.
Some people, and indeed some police forces, have criticised these less lethal weapons, saying that they can be dangerous if improperly used or used in circumstances where the outcome is not as clear as that intended by the user. I accept that, but some of the criticism of these items has come from police forces which use the plastic bullet. They say that those bullets also involve problems. Since we do not use the plastic bullet in this jurisdiction, the Garda is making a fair judgment in saying that this less lethal technology is preferable to plastic bullets and to firearms in general.