THE Uzi submachine gun was made obsolete and was no longer fit for the job – that’s according to the Gardaí press office who were responding to claims that the submachine gun may have saved the life of Adrian Donohoe.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (ASGI) has called for the Uzi submachine gun to be re-issued to all detectives. The weapon has been withdrawn from service and replaced with handguns for all units outside of Dublin. Inspector Walter Kilcullen said the Uzi always proved a great deterrent to criminals in the past, and the death of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe might have been prevented if he was armed with an Uzi.
Yet it transpires that the Uzi, which hasn’t changed dramatically since the 1960s, was viewed as no longer up to task, and it was felt it was not suitable for enclosed spaces.
The Uzi was replaced in the Gardaí by another submachine gun, the Hechler and Koch M7. Crucially however, detectives would not have had access to this new submachine, but instead would have been issued the the more compact but less imposing Sig Sauer 226, a semi-automatic handgun.
This gun is in the process of being rolled out in the force. Only members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and the Regional Support Unit (RSU) would have been issued with the new Hechler and Koch M7.
Proponents of the more powerful Uzi posed more of deterrent to criminals then a handgun would have.
President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) John Parker said the failure of the garda authorities to replace the Uzi submachine “has been a serious concern”.
Mr Kilcullen said officers on high-risk operations now have to rely on pistols which are smaller and not as intimidating to criminals.
Mr Kilcullen, a senior member of the Agsi national executive, said the Uzi had been used by gardai since the late 1960s and had served the force well. Taking them away from officers was like telling traffic police to return their motorbikes and use Segways instead, he told delegates.