The senior garda officer in charge of the new armed support unit for Dublin is one of a number of officers with responsibility for two or more top jobs in the force, while six others are waiting for promotion.

The Government, which promoted 11 officers from a list of 17 last month, has said it intends that the Policing Authority will take over the appointments function by the end of the year, by which time the remaining panel of six senior garda officers will expire.

The Minister for Justice announced the promotions after the Government realised there were more critical vacancies than it had originally claimed

However, six other officers who had been notified they were to be promoted were not appointed.

The Government has said it has filled the critical vacancies up to the number agreed between the departments of Justice and Public Expenditure and Reform.

But senior gardaí say this Employment Control Framework is based on political not policing needs and that in spite of appointments this year, assistant commissioners and chief superintendents still have to "double job" to fill vacancies at management level.

The new armed support unit in Dublin was established as a result of the Hutch-Kinahan feud and the violence associated with organised crime in the capital.

It was launched today and has 55 members armed with lethal and less than lethal weapons.

Gardaí said it will be a valuable aid to frontline policing.