The Irish Government has confirmed funding for a “replacement” helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft for the An Garda Síochána – the national police service of Ireland. The capital allocation of €21.5 million in 2023 suggests it would be a very capable helicopter, and local press have been speculating it would be an Airbus H145 without detailing their sources.
The Garda currently operates two EC135s which were put into service in December 2002 and November 2007.
The Dept of Justice statement follows:-
The Minister for Justice Simon Harris has today announced an additional capital allocation of €21.5 million to support significant investment in a replacement helicopter and fixed wing plane for An Garda Síochána.
Funding will be provided in 2023 to support the procurement of a longer range and high capacity utility helicopter fully equipped with Garda mission equipment.
It will also be made available to procure a fully equipped plane, with the requisite reliability and enhanced capabilities to support policing, security and surveillance operations.
The new helicopter will also support the rapid deployment of the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Units where necessary.
Together, 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 (OCG), border policing, human and drug trafficking, kidnapping and fuel smuggling/laundering.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said:
“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.
“The allocation of this additional funding is further evidence of the government’s commitment to provide An Garda Síochána with the resources it needs to keep us safe.
“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 is anticipated that the new helicopter will become operational in 2023, and the new plane will become operational in 2024.