GRA claims tasers are 'singularly best' option to protect gardaí in non-lethal way

The latest call comes after a garda was attacked with a metal baseball bat in Dublin

GRA claims tasers are 'singularly best' option to protect gardaí in non-lethal way

Picture by: Daniel Karmann/DPA/PA Images

Garda representatives say arming officers with tasers will not ramp up violence on our streets.

The Garda Representative Association is calling for ordinary rank and file guards to be given extra protection on duty.

The renewed call from the association follows an attack on a serving Garda with a metal baseball bat in Ballyogan, South Dublin last weekend.

The GRA says thousands of members of the force have been injured while working in recent years.

Frontline gardaí are currently equipped with an extendable baton and pepper spray, as well as a protective vest.

Tasers are widely used internationally, although the weapons' safety and effectiveness has been the subject of frequent debate.

Spokesperson John O'Keefe, however, says tasers are an effective deterrent, without being fatal - pointing out that batons can cause serious damage unintentionally.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he argued: "The non-lethal use of force option is one we've been talking about for a number of years, not [just] since the attack in Ballyogan last weekend might I say.

"We know from research that nine times out of ten that red dot pointed on an offender will ensure compliance. We know from research only one in ten times would that be discharged."

He suggested that some criminals are now equipped with weapons such as uzis and lump hammers.

Mr O'Keefe observed: "There is this fear that the more we equip gardaí, the more we're somehow going to provoke violence.

"All we're saying is that we have got to protect our gardaí in a simple, non-lethal way - and tasers are the singularly best option at this moment in time."