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Emergency Response Unit (Garda): Wikis


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The Emergency Response Unit (Irish: Aonad Práinnfhreagartha) of the Garda Síochána is a specialist armed intervention unit under the Special Detective Unit,[1] formed to deal with situations that cannot be handled by regular Garda officers.

Garda Síochána Emergency Response Unit member in Dublin.



The Emergency Response Unit is responsible for handling the following operations in service of the Garda Síochána:[2][3]

  1. Armed response in anti-criminal/subversive operations
  2. Implementation of search techniques, including use of forced entry
  3. Execution of high-risk warrants
  4. VIP Protection
  5. Provide specialist patrols as directed
  6. Provide ground and air regional patrols
  7. Hostage rescue


The ERU was formed as the Special Task Force in 1978, following a decision of Justice Ministers at the Ninth Council of the EEC at Brussels in 1975.[2] The Special Task Force was based in Dublin and it formed part of the Special Detective Unit in Harcourt Street. This unit was renamed the Emergency Response Unit in 1987.[3]

Most recently the ERU has been deployed to trouble spots in Dublin and Limerick to tackle gun crime. One incident in the latter half of 2006 involved an ERU team pursuing armed suspects in Limerick after a shooting incident in the city. The ERU stopped and arrested the suspects after a chase which the media reported reached speeds of 240km/h near the village of Croom.[4]



The Barr Tribunal's investigation into the shooting of John Carthy in Abbeylara in 2000 brought the ERU's existence and role to public attention in recent years, and individual ERU members were criticised in the tribunal's report on the incident.


The membership of the ERU consists exclusively of serving officers in the Garda Síochána.[3] The ERU consists of 50 members as of October 2004.[5]


Training of the ERU is carried out in the Garda's Tactical Training Unit, established in 1983 under the authority of the Garda college, Templemore. Members of the ERU have received training with the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team.[3] In addition, ERU officers have been trained abroad in Germany, the UK and the US.[2]

ERU officers are required to qualify three times per year in all firearms being used by the unit.[3] Training consists of in-house tactical training on an ongoing basis from the ERU’s own firearms instructors and refresher range practice.[3]

Weapons and equipment

ERU members during counter-terrorist exercise



Less Lethal


Operational Procedure

For the need of ERU operators in the city of Dublin, a request to the Detective Chief Superintendent of the Special Detective Unit by the Divisional Officer would be made.[2] For operations in other parts of Ireland, the Divisional Officer would make the request to the appropriate Assistant Commissioner.[2]


  1. ^ "The Crime & Security Branch". Garda Síochána. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-03.  
  2. ^ a b c d e "EMERGENCY RESPONSE UNIT (E.R.U.)". Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Rank and Structure in the Garda Sı´ocha´na and the Role of the Emergency Response Unit". Retrieved 2009-05-03.  
  4. ^ "Limerick’s gang leaders recruit children for killing missions". Irish Examiner. November 7, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-21.  
  5. ^ Lally, Conor (October 20, 2004). "Plan to have fewer armed Gardaí". Irish Times. Retrieved 2006-11-26.  
  6. ^ a b c "Unofficial ERU Weapons Page". 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-22.  
  7. ^ a b "The Aftermath — Post-Mortem, Forensic and Ballistic Examination". Retrieved 2009-05-03.  
  8. ^ "THE EXIT OF JOHN CARTHY FROM THE HOUSE". Retrieved 2009-05-03.  
  9. ^ "Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defense and Women's Rights on Abbeylara Shooting, Page 1". Oireachtas. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  10. ^ a b c "Garda Use of Less Lethal Weapons". Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. 2006-07-20. Retrieved 2009-05-03.  
  11. ^ a b "Less-Lethal Weapons". Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  12. ^ "ERU authorised to use TASER type devices". Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2009-05-03.  

See also


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