O’Brien calls for explanation of €30million spend on Garda firearms training
Sinn Féin Justice and Equality Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has called on the Minister for Justice and Equality to provide an explanation of why €4.5million is spent every year on firearms training for the members of An Garda Siochana, amounting to over €30million from 2005 to 2011.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“I asked the Minister to provide information regarding the amount of money spent each year on weapons, ammunition and maintenance, and firearms training for the Gardai. The figures provided to me are staggering. Each year the state spends €4.5million on firearms training alone for the Gardai.
“While we agree that armed Gardai must be trained adequately, the Minister for Justice will not tell us the number of Gardai who carry firearms on a daily basis. There are serious questions to be answered regarding the costs of this. Who is providing the training? Is it a private company? If it is in-house training, then why is it costing so much? Spending over €30million on firearms training over seven years is an enormous amount of money.
“I would also like for the minister for to tell us why there was such a steep increase on the spend in weapons from 2010 to 2011. In 2010, €38,632 was spent on weapons, and this jumped to €340,697 in 2011. What was different in 2011 that required such a high amount of money for weapons?
“In January, the Minister floated a recommendation to reduce the number of armed Gardai. Clearly, next year’s figures for firearms training should reflect this. Sinn Féin is opposed to the routine arming and militarisation of policing throughout Ireland.
“However, we recognise that there are occasions where an armed response may be appropriate as a last resort, and that the priority in these circumstances must relate to the right to life of all individuals.
“We also recognise the need for proper training of the personnel involved. We never again want to see situations where the PSNI or Gardaí are involved in killings that could have been avoided – such as that which occurred in Abbeylara.
“Respect for human rights should be the basis of all policing reforms, but these figures do not indicate anything but a commitment to arming Gardai in general.”