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  1. ITV Report

Gardai unit to be moved to Irish border in Brexit preparation

Gardai Commissioner Drew Harris Credit: UTV

An armed support unit, newly created in the run-up to the UK leaving the European Union, will be moved closer to the border, says Gardai Commissioner Drew Harris.

He was speaking to an Irish Parliament justice committee on Wednesday when he was asked about concerns on the UK's exit.

"We've built up resources around our armed support unit, at the moment we have about 30 more members trained and ready," the Commissioner said.

"We're also looking towards the introduction of an armed support unit in Cavan to reduce response times in the border area, so there's a lot more to come, but we're very aware of the Brexit challenges.

"We have increased numbers in the border area, and making further investment in armed support in Cavan through the new operating model we will further enhance policing around the border counties."

Mr Harris refused to be drawn into speculation about possible violence in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which has been forecast by many, including dissident republican groups, if customs or border posts are introduced, as the UK becomes a third country with an EU border.

On Wednesday, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said there remains a 'palpable risk' of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Mr Juncker told MEPs in Strasbourg: "I said to Prime Minister Johnson that I have no emotional attachment to the safety net, to the backstop, but I stated that I stand by the objectives that it is designed to achieve.

"That is why I called on the Prime Minister to come forward with operational proposals, in writing, for practical steps which would allow us to achieve those objectives.

"Until such time as those proposals have been presented I will not be able to tell you, looking you straight in the eye, that any real progress has been achieved."