Law enforcement in the Republic of Ireland

Ireland has a single national civilian police force, Garda Síochána na hÉireann (Guardians of the Peace of Ireland). This force is responsible for all aspects of territorial civil policing. The Garda Síochána have been the only territorial police force in the Republic since their merger with the Dublin Metropolitan Police in 1925.

An Garda Síochána

The Garda Síochána na hÉireann, (Guardians of the Peace of Ireland), also known as An Garda Síochána or more commonly referred to as the Gardaí, is the police force of Ireland. The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are located in Phoenix Park in Dublin. They provide both local and national policing.

The Garda Síochána Reserve is the volunteer reserve section of the Garda Síochána. Its purpose is to supplement the work of members of the Garda Síochána in performing its functions.[1]

Military Police Corps

The Military Police Corps or Póilíní Airm (English: Army Police) is the corps of the Irish Army responsible for the provision of policing service personnel and providing a military police presence to forces while on exercise and deployment. Its tasks increase during wartime to include traffic control organisation and POW and refugee control. The Military Police Corps are distinguished from other units by their wearing of a red beret.

The Military Police Corps enjoy a close working relationship with the Garda Síochána at both national and local levels, with the Gardaí providing specialist training to the Corps in criminal investigation.

Airport and Harbour policing

Within Dublin Airport, Cork Airport, and Shannon Airport the Airport Police Service (Irish: Póilíní an t-Aerfoirt), perform aviation policing functions. They are employed by Dublin Airport Authority and authorised by the Minister of Transport.

Within Dublin Port and Dún Laoghaire Harbour, the Dublin Harbour Police and the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Police (operated by the Dublin Port Company & Dún Laoghaire harbour company respectively) perform a similar role to the Airport Police Service.

The powers of these organisations are limited to the airport/port buildings and grounds.[2][3]

Special police organisations

The Special Detective Unit (SDU) is a unit of an Garda Síochána under its Crime & Security Branch (CSB).[4] Their responsibilities include counter-terrorism,[5] counter-espionage, providing an armed response to incidents, protection of the State, protection of cash shipments, monitoring the activities of subversive and extremist groups, protection of VIPs and operation of the Witness Security Program.[4]

Revenue Customs

The Office of the Revenue Commissioners operate a customs service at all major ports of entry to Ireland and are mandated to stop all illegal narcotics and firearms from entering the state. Authorised officers have a wide range of powers including arrest under the Customs Consolidation Act and Finance Act.[6][7] They are also authorised to investigate revenue offences under the Taxes Consolidation Act.[8]


  1. "Garda Síochána Act 2005". Office of the Attorney General, Republic of Ireland. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  2. "Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1988". Office of the Attorney General, Republic of Ireland. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  3. "Harbours Act, 1996". Office of the Attorney General, Republic of Ireland. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  4. 1 2 "The Crime & Security Branch". Garda Síochána. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  5. "Two held after bomb factory is uncovered". The Irish Times. 2010-05-24. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
  6. "Customs Consolidation Act, 1876".
  7. "Finance Act 2005".
  8. "Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997".
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