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Inspectorate report means Garda training deficiencies can no longer be denied – Ó Snodaigh

7 March, 2007

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said yesterday's Garda Inspectorate report highlights the need for more training for Gardaí in the use of firearms. Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh called for the Inspectorate's recommendations to be promptly implemented.

He said, "The Minister for Justice and indeed the government can no longer deny the training deficiencies within An Garda Síochána. The Garda Inspectorate report published yesterday highlights the need for more training in the use of firearms in particular. I have been raising this important issue with the Minister repeatedly over the past year but to no avail. I hope the Garda Inspectorate's recommendations in relation to training are promptly implemented.

"At last year's annual general meeting of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors the general Secretary declared that Garda training on firearms is far behind international best practice. In fact he said that Gardaí receive more training on how to clean a firearm than on how to manage a firearms situation. I immediately tabled a parliamentary question to the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell asking how he intended to rectify this grave shortcoming. I received a simple and short reply - 'The Garda Commissioner has my full support in the provision of firearms training and facilities in the Garda Síochána up to international best practise' No acknowledgment of the problem identified by the head of one of the larger Garda associations and certainly no detailed plan as to how it will be rectified.

"The Minister must cease his denials if future lives are to be saved. Likewise in the interests of road safety it is crucial that all Gardaí undergo the relevant training and pass the relevant test before being allowed to drive Garda cars. This is not currently the case." ENDS

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