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Special Detective Unit


Special Detective Unit

The Special Detective Unit (SDU) (Irish: Aonad Speisialta Bleachtaireachta) is a unit of an Garda Síochána under its Crime & Security Branch.[1] They are a replacement for the older Special Branch, which itself replaced the Criminal Investigation Department in 1923. It operates from Harcourt Street in Dublin.

The Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) is a sub-division of the SDU.[1]


SDU officers have been conducting operations alongside the Irish Army's G2 and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation in arresting suspected Irish Muslim radicals using Ireland as a safe haven for Al Qaeda operatives.[2] The Special Detective Unit was involved in heightened security efforts ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Ireland, fearing retaliation from al-Qaeda operatives in response to the death of Osama bin Laden.[3] The agency was also involved in the arrest of several radical Islamic militants in Cork suspected of plotting to assassinate Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks in response to an al-Qaeda in Iraq bounty, working with the FBI and CIA.[4][5]


Their responsibilities include counter-terrorism,[6] providing an armed response to incidents, protection of the State, protection of cash shipments,[1] monitoring the activities of subversive and extremist groups, protection of VIPs[1] and operation of the Witness Security Program.[1]

The SDU is also charged with Presidential Protection, and as such accompanies the President of Ireland on official visits in Ireland and internationally. For a national Presidential visit, a motorcade consists of the Presidential limousine, a Garda SDU follow-up car, and a staff car. Such motorcades usually involve the Garda Traffic Corps, who provide motorcycle support.

On foreign visits, the President is accompanied by a small security detail consisting of at least 5 officers. The state security forces of the host territory provide principal security, while Garda SDU officers operate as the Personal Protection team.

For instance, on a typical visit to Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Close Protection Unit would provide perimeter security for the Presidential group, advance security checks of locations to be visited by the President, and provide a fleet of armoured vehicles for use by the President and entourage.


External links

  • Official site
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