Rank and file gardaí are seeking a 24-hour armed support unit in every division in the country to deal with violent crime.

Delegates will gather in Killarney, Co Kerry, this evening for the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association.

The association says resources, equipment, training, and accommodation are among the issues of concern for rank and file gardaí.  

Gardaí who police the border are particularly concerned about the dangers posed by the increasing number of ATM robberies because they suspect members of at least one of the gangs were also involved in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe during a raid at the Lordship Credit Union in 2013.

They say they are not satisfied they have the resources to tackle these criminal gangs.

They are demanding the establishment of a 24-hour armed support unit in every garda division rather than at present in each region, pointing out the border region stretches from north Donegal to east Louth.

In light of recent evictions and paramilitary marches, gardaí say there is potential for an increase in public disorder and are seeking a fully resourced full-time public order unit in the capital like the London Metropolitan Police.

The present garda unit, they say, operates solely on overtime and people being called in at short notice.

On the issue of roads policing, gardaí are seeking clear guidelines as to when to use handcuffs when arresting people for drink driving.

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Meanwhile, speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, GRA President Jim Mulligan has said that a proper armed support unit in every division would "do away with the need for detective units to carry guns".

He also said he believed that more resources and better targeting of criminal gangs would be needed to tackle the growing problem of ATM thefts.

Mr Mulligan said the GRA was calling for a full-time public order unit to be established in Dublin, which, he said, would provide another back up service for frontline members in Dublin.

He said members would also like a clear policy on whether someone, arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving, should be handcuffed.

Currently, he said, the situation was a very grey area.