THE BROTHER OF slain journalist Veronica Guerin has said that those involved in Dublin’s gang-related crimes are more cocky – and hence more dangerous – than ever.
Jimmy Guerin, a general election candidate in Dublin Bay North, has called on the government to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on the worsening situation in the city’s underworld.
Following the fatal shooting of Eddie Hutch Snr – brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and uncle of Gary Hutch who was shot dead in Spain last year – he said the war on gangland crime in the inner city had been lost.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie immediately after the attack, Guerin said, “There was a knot in my stomach [when I heard] and I’ll tell you why. What we saw on Friday was an arrogant display.
This shows us how the criminals have taken control of the streets. The display tonight, they went into a home the guards should have known to be observing. To kick in the door… and shoot him dead – I am fearful that law and order is gone.
“I saw this in 1996, I saw fear in the streets and there was fear. And Veronica, God rest her soul, I knew the type of dark side she was reporting on. I saw this for the last 12 months… families terrorised because they owe money.
Families believe they can’t ring the police because the police can’t take these people on. It is the same arrogance that was there in 1996. The criminals are so cocky, going around in no fear of the law. They’re more dangerous now.
He asked the Justice Minister and her cabinet to regroup, put party politics aside and focus on what is happening in the country’s capital.
“I’m nearly sorry there’s an election on and that I’m running in it,” he added. “Because when you say things people think it’s political and it’s not.”
Eddie Hutch Senior, a man in his 50s, was shot dead at his home on Poplar Row in the North Strand yesterday evening.
Four gunmen burst into his home and shot him a number of times before fleeing in a getaway car.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald issued a statement in the wake of the shooting to confirm she will be meeting the garda commissioner and her senior officers today.
“Tonight’s fatal shooting in Dublin is another deplorable example of the ruthlessness of gangland criminals,” she said.
It seems that some gangs are intent on waging a feud where human life counts for nothing.
She added that gardaí will take “all necessary steps to prevent further bloodshed” but conceded they face serious challenges.
Concerns about further retaliation or another escalation in violence spurred her to encourage other members of gangs in fear of their safety to contact the authorities.
Leader of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams also condemned last night’s killing, saying it brings “further fear and intimidation to the streets”, while Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Niall Collins said the shooting was a “severe escalation of an already serious and uncontrolled situation”.
“I have grave concerns that because of the brazen nature of these shootings innocent people will end up being caught up in them,” Collins added.
Earlier yesterday, the Continuity IRA (CIRA) claimed responsibility for the shooting at the Regency Hotel in a statement given to the BBC’s Northern Ireland correspondent Vincent Kearney. However, the validity of that claim has since been questioned.
With reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll and Rónán Duffy