By Don Lavery Exclusive
€300,000 spent on Irish Army riot kit
The Army is gearing up to deal with possible public disorder on our streets.
The Defence Forces are to get new anti-riot equipment at a cost of €300,000. The new kit has been bought to protect soldiers who have to deal with rioters in Ireland or on peace keeping missions abroad.
But the equipment will only be used here when gardai are unable to cope with demonstrations and call on the Army for support. It will also be used in routine training for soldiers.
Asked if the equipment was being procured to cope with large-scale public demonstrations over government cutbacks and policies a Defence Forces spokesman said: “No. It’s being bought to replace existing stocks.”
He explained that the Army has a crowd control anti-riot role if needed but “since the Troubles we have had a stock of anti-riot equipment in barracks, its been that way since the Seventies”.
“But, no, we have not been told to be ready for November 24,” he said, referring to the the proposed national strike on that day.
The order, placed with Daniel Technologies of Dublin, includes protective knee and armpads, helmets and visors, while soldiers also have access to body armour, batons and shields. Enough material has been ordered to equip 500 soldiers.
The equipment will be kept in barracks near locations where public order disturbances could break out. These are likely to include the Dail, the border and Shannon Airport. The last order for such equipment was in 2000.
Tender documents show the order was for the “supply of public order blunt trauma personnel protective equipment for use in public order, crowd and riot control operations at home and abroad”.