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As violence increases in Ireland the Garda Siochana, the national police force, will get new protective gear, according to a story in today's IRISH HERALD. This follows pleas for more firearm qualified officers from former Boston Police Commissioner Kathy O'Toole, who is now a high-ranking official with the Garda. While most Gardai will remain unarmed, it would appear some protective measures are being taken.
The garda wardrobe is to be extended at a cost more than €12m, as the force prepares for a major makeover.
Gardai are to be provided with a new range of safety gear, including state-of-the-art body armour and stab vests as they up their efforts to stamp out violent crime.
A massive contract has been awarded to a Monaghan company who will now be charged with dressing the entire force for the next three years.
Included in the new attire will be a fashionable new uniform, ballistic equipment and public order equipment.
The contact, which was advertised by the Government Supplyies Agency, is worth €12.69m to James Boylan Safety Ltd.
The company, which operates from five office and warehouse bases around the country, will supply clothing until the end of 2011.
The firm already hold the contracts for other high profile customers including the Defence Forces.
Listed among the items are a “new look” uniform, including tunics, polo-shirts, T-shirts, rainsuits, shirts and trousers.
A new range of helmets and anti-stab vests will also be purchased as gardai continue to face more vicious criminals. The order also includes public order coveralls and riot shields.
Announcing the move, Junior Finance Minister Dr Martin Mansergh said that it was the “largest ever uniform contract”.
The last selection of uniforms cost around €5m and seven years ago it was just over €1m.
The exact design of the new uniform will not be revealed until later this year, but it is expected to be visible on the streets by next summer.
In the meantime, as late as this morning, the Irish press contains more reports of guns on the streets. Four handguns were recovered in a traffic stop in west Dublin yesterday, according to reports. Suspects are being held.
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