Ali Bracken, Crime Correspondent
The elite Emergency Response Unit (ERU) are operating 'roving checkpoints' in parts of north and south Dublin IRELAND'S most elite and heavily-armed gardaí have been deployed to Dublin's most active gangland blackspots as part of Operation Hybrid.
Last weekend, members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) mounted a checkpoint in the south inner city as part of the force's current crackdown on serious organised criminality. The ERU is a specialist armed intervention unit under the Special Detective Unit. At present, the elite officers are operating "roving checkpoints" in parts of north and south Dublin. The armed officers, in conjunction with local gardaí, have been mounting checkpoints in parts of Ballymun, Finglas, Blanchardstown, Crumlin, Drimnagh, Clondalkin, Ballyfermot, Ronanstown and Tallaght.
The gardaí spend only about 20 minutes at each random checkpoint before moving to another location.
The operation's objective is to thwart the activities and movements of gangland criminals and sources say it is having the desired effect. It also provides gardaí with intelligence on the current state of the most active gangs, as well as the hierarchy and make-up of the gangs, which are constantly evolving.
Random checkpoints and car searches have been putting organised criminals under pressure and their visibility is a constant reminder that their activities are under surveillance.
Tensions among criminals in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin are at an all-time high. Four men have been murdered in a feud in the past 14 months.
The most recent victim was shot dead just two weeks ago. The ERU has been mounting frequent checkpoints in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin.
ERU training is carried out at the garda Tactical Training Unit in Templemore. The specialist gardaí also receive training with the Ranger Wing of the Irish Army, and in the past have been trained by the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. The officers are sometimes trained abroad in Germany, the UK and the US.
ERU officers are required to qualify three times per year in all firearms being used by the unit.
Training consists of in-house tactical training on an ongoing basis from the ERU's own firearms instructors and refresher range practice. Weapons they are trained to use include the Remington 870 pump-action shotgun and Uzi sub-machine guns.
November 21, 2010