Garda Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan has refuted suggestions that the Garda Emergency Response Unit do not have the resources to adequately protect and assist officers in Drogheda with the ongoing gang feud having intensified in the town in recent weeks.
Chief Superintendent Mangan was responding to claims from Garda Representative Association delegate Ciaran O’Neill in a letter to the head of the ERU in which he said officers were working with sub-standard equipment, have not been trained to deal with major terrorist or firearm related incidents and that the ERU is understaffed, with up 21 vacancies in the unit yet to be filled.
Speaking to The Micheal Reade Show on LMFM on Tuesday morning, Chief Supt Mangan said he did not experience any issues related to calling on the ERU when needed, intimating that if there were resource deficits he would say so.
“I have never had any difficulty in securing the services of the ERU. They will be here at a moments notice for me, let it be 3 o’clock in the day or 3 o’clock in the morning; they have been here,” he said.
“I’m never shy about saying when we don’t have enough resources – I would always be very frank with the public – if there was a problem I would say it. I’ve read reports where there are complaints about responses from armed people. We have armed people there very quickly.”
When speaking at public meetings of the Joint Policing Committee in Ardee and Drogheda last November, meeting at which LouthNow.ie was present, Chief Supt Mangan did admit that he was working with limited resources across the board in Louth and he always pushed Commission Drew Harris and Justice Flanagan for more help.
When asked whether the ERU had been deployed efficiently to the Bridge of Peace in Drogheda last Monday when a shot was fired into a taxi, injuring the driver, he said it was actually the ERU that provided medical assistance as they waited for an ambulance arrived.
“If I had information that there was going to be a possible attack I certainly would seek the services of the ERU and I've never ever been refused the services of the ERU.”
- chief Supt Christy Mangan
- An Garda Siochana
“They were there so quickly that they were able to administer medical support to the injured party and that’s why our armed support people are highly trained – intervening until the ambulance crews arrive. In relation to the Emergency Response Unit – they have provided huge support to us in this town and in other parts of the county in relation to incidents that take place.
“I have sought the Emergency Response Unit on a number of occasions in relation to matters that we would consider they should be here for,” he told Michael Reade. If I had information that there was going to be a possible attack I certainly would seek the services of the ERU and I’ve never ever been refused the services of the ERU.
“They are a highly trained, highly specialised group of people and they provide very good support for us. We also have considerable number of armed support people [and] detectives.
In the GRA letter, it is claimed that officers in Drogheda requested ERU back up last week but were left waiting for several hours while last Friday no back-up whatsover was available to be called upon.
Mangan said he was unaware of any internal complaints made within An Garda Siochana about the provision of officers, training or equipment for the Emergency Response Unit. “When they come here, they are suited and booted and well able to do the job that I ask them to do on a regular basis.
“I have made requests at 2 o’clock in the morning and they have turned up and done a lot of good work for me.”
In relation to the comments today, the GRA released a further short statement. ‘The GRA is seeking an urgent meeting with the Garda Commissioner regarding resourcing of Emergency Response Unit. We wish to discuss concerns raised in a letter from a local GRA representative to the Detective Superintendent in charge of the Unit. This letter was internal correspondence and should not have been placed in the public domain. The GRA is making no further comment at this time.’
Antoinette Cunningham, Deputy General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants & Inspectors said, “Policing is becoming more aggressive and more violent in nature… This is not a question of overtime.”
The Chief Superintendent also said that Gardai are now satisfied that 17-year-old Keane Mulready Woods was murdered in Drogheda. He added that the dispersal of body parts have made it very distressing for his family who are in the process of organising his funeral.
The investigation into the murder of the teenager involves three Garda divisions with three detective units involved. Forensic testing and house-to-house inquiries continued.