The Garda Commissioner has said that Public Order Units are to get 200 tasers, and that he is asking for two water cannon to be permanently available.

Tasers are currently only available to armed and emergency response units.

Commisioner Drew Harris told the Oireachtas Committee on Justice that gardaí are currently deploying two water cannon, on loan from the PSNI, in Dublin.

The committee heard that public order units are to be expanded and given smaller round shields to allow officers to "snatch" troublemakers at protests.

Body cameras will be deployed on a provisional basis in the capital early in 2024, a year earlier than originally planned, while the dog unit is to be expanded, and all frontline gardaí are to get stronger pepper spray.

Public order units will also get hand-held video cameras, and gardaí are also pressing for changes in the law to allow them to access audio from CCTV, the commissioner said.

Operational changes are already under way, and high visibility policing will remain in Dublin city centre over Christmas, he added.

The Government legislation to give body cams to gardaí passed through the Oireachtas this evening.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has also agreed to fast-track identification technology for certain crimes, including serious public order incidents, to help speed up the review of CCTV material.

Meanwhile, investigating officers are considering bringing thousands of hours of CCTV footage of the riots to another jurisdiction which allows the use of facial recognition technology.

The president of the Garda Representative Association said the measures announced today in relation to stronger personal safety gear and stronger pepper spray for public order gardaí are "slightly concerning", and has called for every frontline garda to have a riot helmet in their locker.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Brendan O'Connor said members have raised issues in relation to the absence of proper protection for non-public order unit gardaí and that it was GRA policy that they would look for tasers "for all officers".

He said he would like to see some form of "independent analysis" of what happened last week, noting that if any other employer in the country would face an investigation by the HSA if their employees were subject to injuries.

Mr O’Connor said while WhatsApp and social media may have contributed alongside official lines of communication for gardaí, they were not a suitable alternative to official lines in such serious circumstances, adding that he "was not sure" what official channels were.

"WhatsApp and text messages unofficial channels were used very effectively to rally the troops and get the message out there that help was needed, and our members reacted to that request. But it should be subject of a review to see what are the communication processes, because we can’t have the situation where the State is reliant on third-party service providers or communications may collapse at times of emergency," he said.

At least 38 people were arrested following violence in Dublin last week

'I care too much to resign' - Harris

At the hearing, Commissioner Harris also insisted that he has "no intention whatsoever of resigning".

"I'm not going to resign. I care too much actually about this job, I care too much about the responsibilities that I have to protect the people of Ireland and to lead An Garda Síochána," he told the committee.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly pressed the Commissioner on when he had first spoken to Minister McEntee last Thursday.

After asking for an adjournment, Commissioner Harris resumed his seat to reveal that he had spoken to the Minister shortly before 3pm.

Comm Harris said that "clarity" from the Policing Authority "would be welcome" on the use of force, noting that rank and file gardaí had reported a "chilling effect" on the use of force.

"But this is a very complex area," he added, as there are "competing rights".

Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher expressed concern that extra gardaí in Dublin could leave other parts of the country short.

"We're very conscious we're a national service, and there are huge amounts of police needed into Christmas," Mr Harris said.

The gardaí's "absolute priority is around visibility, and visibility here in Dublin, but elsewhere as well," he added.

Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon said that the next swearing in of garda recruits will be brought forward a month to 15 December, meaning that 151 trainee gardaí will be ready for deployment the following day.

"A considerable cohort" will be assigned to Dublin, she said.

Investigation into online role of far-right over Dublin riots

'No failure in any part' by commanders at scene

Drew Harris insisted that last Thursday, gardaí "were doing their maximum at all time".

He said that he "cannot accept that the collective efforts of An Garda Síochána that night meant that the city was out of control".

"We had a riot," he stated. "There was no failure in any part" by commanders at the scene.

Senator Gallagher suggested "perhaps we should have been better prepared".

"In between the 50 (officers) who were on duty, and the 250 that were required, it's very difficult to say what number should you have had immediately available," Mr Harris responded.

Commissioner Harris said the violence "starts from a place of prejudice and that becomes discrimination and hatred".

"They are fully convinced of their conspiracy theories", and are "not open" to "a rational argument or a rational discussion", he said.

Messages were sent to gardaí last Thursday to come on duty

Some people are vulnerable and are being exploited and pulled into the violence, Independent Senator Lynn Ruane said, challenging the Commissioner on the use of "language like 'thugs' and 'scumbags' in that collective sense".

She warned that it creates "more division" and makes it harder to "create safety".

"Those are not expressions you'd hear from us," Mr Harris said, as they indicate a "lack of objectivity".

But Senator Ruane noted that the Commissioner had used the word "thugs" himself.

"We need to be careful" about those on "the margins", Mr Harris conceded.

We can "focus on the behaviour, play the ball not the player," Senator Ruane said.

"Yes," Mr Harris responded.