Feb 14, 2023 | Nationwide News

The Garda Air Support Unit has received a major lift with news of Government investment of €21.5m in a new helicopter and fixed-wing plane, which will provide enhanced capabilities to support policing, security and surveillance operations.

The announcement of the additional capital was made by the Justice Minister Simon Harris, with the funding to support the procurement of a longer range and high-capacity utility helicopter fully equipped with Garda mission equipment and will also be made available to procure a fully equipped plane.

The new helicopter will support the rapid deployment of the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Units where necessary. The investments will provide a vital support to the security of the State, offering consistent and effective capacity to Garda national units in the investigation of espionage, terrorism, organised crime gangs, border policing, human and drug trafficking, kidnapping and fuel smuggling/laundering.

“The Garda Air Support Unit does vital work to combat criminal activity and protect the public. This new, state-of-the-art plane and helicopter will significantly boost the State’s aerial support and ability to uphold national security,” noted Minister Harris.

“The allocation of this additional funding is further evidence of the government’s commitment to provide An Garda Síochána with the resources needed. It’s vital our Gardaí have the resources they need to tackle serious and organised crime, police our borders, investigate potential threats, increase their surveillance capacity and rapidly deploy specialist units, such as the Emergency Response Unit and the Armed Support Unit, across the State.”

The purchase of the fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter will be funded through the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. It’s anticipated that the new chopper will become operational this year with the new plane ready for operations in 2024.

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