Gardaí fired their guns just 17 times in all of last year
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Gardaí fired their guns just 17 times in all of last year

IT'S been revealed that garda members only fired guns 17 times while working in 2020.

Officers only fired their weapons on three occasions in the last five months of 2020, one of which was the fatal shooting of George Nkencho on December 30.

President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) Frank Thornton said: "The use of lethal and non-lethal force is closely scrutinised internally and externally.

"The GRA is proud of Ireland's policing-by-consent model and would not want that to change, but crime in Ireland is becoming ever more violent so there needs to be a commensurate policing response."

The figures, released by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, also reveal 34 instances of officers using tasers.

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They were provided in response to a written Dáil question by co-leader of the Social Democrats Catherine Murphy.

The figures demonstrate a remarkable level of restraint maintained by gardaí, particularly when firearms are used against them from time to time.

Mr Thornton said that more than 200 gardaí were maliciously injured on duty.

"We have been shot at, rammed, dragged along roads by cars, assaulted with a variety of actual and improvised weapons and punched, kicked, bitten and spat at.

"Our members have suffered internal injuries, broken bones, cuts needing multiple stitches and more.

"Some of these were life-threatening incidents that can lead to life-changing injuries.

"This shows the dangers our members face daily. As critical frontline workers, gardaí are as entitled to protective equipment as much as anyone else and the GRA regards non-lethal weapons and body cameras as safety equipment that should be available to every frontline garda for their own safety but also for public safety.

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"International evidence shows the availability of non-lethal weapons and body cameras can be a deterrent without even being used and when produced can prevent incidents escalating."