Reports suggesting Gardai strengthening armed support unit in Donegal

Reports suggest Gardai are strengthening their armed support unit in Donegal in response to the recent violence in the North.

It's been reported an urgent recruitment campaign is under way to fill vacancies in the unit in Ballyshannon.

But Gardai have confirmed the competition to fill vacancies in the ASU was initially advertised late last year, with the final phase of the selection process, in the Donegal Division, set to commence next week in Templemore.

They say the timing of the training has been long planned.

It's comes as Police in the North say last week's rioting in Belfast was on a scale not seen in years.

Dozens of officers were injured in the clashes after youths pelted them with petrol bombs and missiles.

Journalist Brian Rowan, a former BBC Security Editor in Northern Ireland, says many factors fed into the violence:

Garda response below:

'An internal competition to fill vacancies in Armed Support Units across the country was advertised within the organisation late last year. The current recruitment process is ongoing and at an advanced stage. ASUs in the north of the country are currently based at Dundalk, Cavan and Ballyshannon Stations. As part of the current recruitment drive pre-deployment training, the final phase of the selection process, to fill ASU vacancies in the Donegal Division, is set to commence next week in Templemore.

Please note that contrary to some speculation the timing of this training has been long planned given the specialised functions carried out by ASU personnel.'