Garda sergeants and inspectors have passed a conference motion calling on the Garda Commissioner to provide up-to-date information on the threat level from Islamic extremism and provide the appropriate training in the event of an attack.

Sergeant Liam Corcoran from Tipperary said he found it "bewildering" that Garda management had failed to provide the front-line officers with the information, training and equipment to help gardaí defend themselves and the people they serve.

Another delegate told the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors' annual conference in Westport that front-line gardaí "would not have a clue what to do in the event of a terrorist attack".

"If there was an attack with chemical or biological weapons at a large scale public event such as the All-Ireland," he told his colleagues, "we'd run around like headless chickens panicking."

Earlier, delegates passed a motion seeking to be issued with personal miniature cameras for protection while on duty.

Members also passed a motion that gardaí be equipped with bullet-proof vests.

The AGSI is also embarking on a campaign for the full restoration of garda pay to pre-crisis levels.

While delegates unanimously support this, many said they were apprehensive about picketing ministers' and TDs' offices and were not in favour of taking strike action, which would be illegal.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily said she believed gardaí have shown they have the knowledge and ability to tackle organised crime.

However, she added that there was a need to enhance the visibility of An Garda Síochána both in urban and rural areas.

The head of the Garda Inspectorate said 300 gardaí doing clerical work could immediately be released to police the streets.

Bob Olsen said the inspectorate has still not received a response from the Garda Commissioner to its report published last year which also identified 1,500 garda positions which could be filled by civilians.