NewsCrime Desk

Heavily armed garda unit set up to tackle gangs hits streets next week

Crime DeskBy Sunday World
Dublin Armed Support Unit begin work on Monday
Dublin Armed Support Unit begin work on Monday

A heavily armed garda unit to combat organised crime gangs involved in the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud will begin work next week.

More than 700 gardai applied for the Dublin Armed Support Unit (ASU), which was announced following the Regency Hotel attack in February.

Seventy gardai of various ranks were informed this week that they had been accepted for the elite unit.

It will remain at the previously allocated 55 members, but 15 gardai are understood to be acting as reserves for the squad that will be operational on a 24-7 basis.

Their operations will begin next Monday. All the members underwent a series of rigorous physical tests as well as interviews by detective inspectors and detective superintendents.

Of the 70 officers picked for the unit, 20 were chosen from the ‘K’ district of the DMR West Division which includes Blanchardstown, Finglas and Cabra garda stations.

The unit will be under control of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), and will be based in Harcourt Square where some of the force’s national units are also located.

The SDU saw a major overhaul in the latest promotions and transfers of senior gardai, with two detective superintendent and one detective inspector being replaced.

The Herald previously revealed how the unit had been requested last November after a review of national security by garda management, which involved Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

However, it was not announced until after the Regency Hotel attack.

Armed men dressed in fake garda SWAT uniforms stormed the hotel on February 5, and key Kinahan lieutenant David Byrne (33) was shot dead.

Three days later, in a killing seen as an immediate revenge attack, a four-man hit squad working on behalf of the Kinahan cartel gunned down Eddie Hutch (58), a brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, at his home on Poplar Row, Ballybough, in the north inner city.