GARDAI in Inishowen are
being issued with pepper spray to help them
incapacitate offenders during violent situations.
Buncrana-based Garda Inspector David Murphy is
overseeing the issuing of pepper spray canisters to
officers across the entire Donegal Division. A
number of Gardai in Inishowen have been trained in
the use of the spray and are now carrying it on
patrol. However, Inspector Murphy said it was
envisaged all staff would be trained in its use by
the end of next month. He confirmed there were only
two recorded cases of the spray having been used so
far in Co Donegal - one incident in Letterkenny and
one in Churchill. Inspector Murphy said there were
no recorded cases so far in the Buncrana District
which covers the Inishowen area.
"Pepper spray is used to assist Gardai in the
control of violent situations but it is only used as
a last resort," said Inspector Murphy. "A number of
officers have been issued with the spray in the
Buncrana District but training is ongoing and it is
intended that all staff will be trained in the use
of it by the end of the year," he added.
The pepper spray training programme for Gardai got
underway during the summer. It is designed to reduce
the number of assaults on members of the force,
after statistics showed that assaults on Gardai more
than doubled in three years.
Pepper spray is a derivative of hot cayenne peppers.
It is an inflammatory agent that targets the eyes,
nose, throat and lungs. It works instantly but the
effects eventually subside.
At the start of this year's training programme,
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said he was determined
to supply Gardai with the most modern equipment to
allow them operate safely and effectively. The
Donegal News yesterday reported that most of Co
Donegal's 470 Gardai have now been trained in using
the incapacitant spray.