There is a debate in the Republic of Ireland at the moment as to whether the Irish Police Force (The Gardai) should routinely carry guns.
Debate has raged within the force about arming all officers since the shooting last September of Paul Sherlock, an unarmed traffic garda, during the morning rush hour in Dublin’s North Strand. The 34-year-old was shot in the stomach from close range with a shotgun by one of the occupants of a stolen car he was pursuing at the time. John Healy, GRA deputy general secretary, believes the attack of an unarmed officer marked a watershed for policing in the state. “It is with great regret that we now have to consider the routine arming of uniformed gardai, but that is the reality of modern Ireland,” he said.
I agree with him – it is important that police officers can defend themselves against armed thugs and unfortunately there are plenty of them in the Republic. It is a sign of the lawless times that this change id needed but we must not risk the lives of those who seek to enforce the law by denying them the necessary protection – in this case, guns.