229. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans An Garda Síochána has for allowing its members to be equipped with tasers in order to increase levels of protection while also increasing public safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17523/19] View answer
The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the deployment of equipment to members of An Garda Síochána.
I have asked the Commissioner for the specific information requested and when I receive it I will write directly to the Deputy.
The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 229 for answer on 16 April 2019 regarding the plans An Garda Síochána has towards allowing its members to be equipped with tasers to increase levels of protection whilst also increasing public safety.
As the Deputy will recall, the information you requested could not be obtained in the time available, and I undertook to contact him again when the information was to hand.
The Deputy will be aware that there has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
An allocation of €1.76 billion has been provided by Government to An Garda Síochána for 2019. As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources, including equipment and specialist equipment is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands.
In line with the recommendation in the Garda Síochána Inspectorate’s 2007 report "Review of Practices and Procedures for Barricade Incidents", all Garda members are issued with incapacitant spray (i.e. pepper spray) and an ASP baton while other forms of less lethal weapons, including tasers and bean bag shots, are available to Garda specialist units.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that CEDs (tasers) are currently issued to members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU), Armed Support Unit (ASU) and Special Detective Unit (SDU). Armed Support Units were established to provide an armed response capacity on a regional basis to support and supplement the national Emergency Response Unit. Members are highly trained and equipped with a variety of non-lethal and lethal weapons and perform high visibility armed checkpoints and patrols throughout their respective regions.
I am further informed that An Garda Síochána has no plans in extending the issue of TASER to members of An Garda Síochána outside of these specialist units at this time.
I trust that this information is of assistance.