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Gardaí from new taskforce may be sent to Spain to target Kinahan cartel

Senior gardaí today said it will take time to build up evidence to take down gang leaders.

Image: RollingNews.ie

GARDAÍ FROM THE new taskforce dedicated to tackling gangland crime may be sent to other countries to target the gang leaders.

Today, gardaí in charge of the investigations into the recent gangland killings gave an update on their progress so far. In total, 23 people have been arrested in connection with the six murders.

Gardaí have also seized 18 guns and conducted more than 2,500 checkpoints around Dublin.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said gardaí are “determined good will win over evil”, telling reporters there is no place in society for people who wreak this kind of havoc on communities.

Yesterday, plans for the establishment of a special taskforce were announced, with a focus on individual and groups involved in gangland activity. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has also promised to bring in new laws to give gardaí powers to seize more assets from dealers and to monitor their activities.

This would mean the threshold for seizing assets believed to be the proceeds of crime will be lowered to just €1,000.

International element

Though the investigations in Dublin are progressing well, pinning down the big players in this feud between the Hutch and Kinahan gangs, and tackling the wider issue of organised crime, presents a greater challenge.

At a briefing in Dublin this morning, Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony spoke of this international piece in the puzzle:

“There is no doubt about it what’s happening in this country, and what’s impacting on these communities, particularly in the inner city communities of Dublin is being orchestrated from the south of Spain and from Holland and indeed from the UK.”

He said it was an “unintended consequence” of the success of the Criminal Assets Bureau that many of the gang leaders feel they have to live abroad to escape the bureau’s reach.

However, he added that this challenge is not new to gardaí.

I should remind everybody that 20 years ago, John Gilligan was arrested in the UK, Brian Meehan was arrested in the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Both of them were brought home here – the legislation allowed them to come back here and to be tried and convicted for their crimes.

Work abroad

O’Mahony said that is something the force will do again – follow these people wherever they go and bring them back to face justice.

Gardaí have previously been sent to work with other police forces to target Irish cartels like the Kinahan gang, he said.

And indeed… one of the considerations that will be given to that taskforce is to work closer and maybe, if necessary, to work in those countries.

An operation targeting the activity of the Kinahan cartel had already been running before this most recent spate of violence, but the assistant commissioner said it will take “effort and time to build a case that will stand up in court”.

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Ongoing investigations

Superintendent Finbarr Murphy of Ballymun garda station made an appeal today in relation to the Regency hotel shooting of David Byrne on 05 February. Investigators are keen to trace the movements of a silver Ford Transit van, with the registration 03D58865 around Buckingham St in the days prior to the murder.

They also want to hear about the movements of this van from Buckingham Street to Drumcondra between 1pm and 2.20pm and near St Patrick’s College, Church Avenue, Ormond Road and Grace Park Road before the shooting.

And he appealed for anyone who may have been in and around St Vincent’s GAA grounds in Marino, and who saw anything suspicious in relation to people or cars, to get in touch.

Mountjoy Superintendent Dan Flavin has asked for information about the movements of a silver Skoda Octavia 05D15049 on and around 24 May, and about a black BMW 02D39051. These cars were used in the murder of Gareth Hutch.

Anyone with photos or footage of these incidents is being urged to hand them over to gardaí to assist in their investigations.

Witnesses or anyone who can help are asked to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 01 6668600, Ballymun Garda Station on 01 6664400, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Read: Frances Fitzgerald says gardaí will ‘go after drug dealers who flaunt their assets’>

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