A controversy over arming more police in the Republic is set to erupt today when supervisors call for more full-time armed patrols.
Gardai are to call on Commissioner Fachtna Murphy to deploy members of the regional support units on armed patrols on a full-time basis.
These specialist groups, which were set up to provide a speedy response to major incidents, operate normally as unarmed and uniformed gardai but can switch instantly into tactical dress if ordered to respond to a major alert.
However, the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which gets under way in Galway this evening, will hear a call to abandon the uniformed duties and remain armed round the clock.
A conference motion says the proposal is in response to an increase in armed violence and also for the safety of gardai.
The debate on the motion is expected to create a split among the delegates with the national executive likely to come out against the proposal.