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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 25 November 2020

Minister vows to crackdown on "evil and sinister" Kinahan-Hutch gangs

Minister Frances Fitzgerald said tagging some criminals will be permitted under new legislation.

Image: Niall Carson

THE MINISTER FOR Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said the “evil and sinister” cycle of gangland violence is both “shocking and disturbing”.

Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Fitzgerald detailed the steps being taken to fight gangland crime including more overtime and extra resources for gardaí.

Fitzgerald said these criminals have “no regard for public safety”.

The loss of life, including the life of those who played no part in gang related feuds, is intolerable.This violent feud is unprecedented in its audacity. The gangs show no regard for public safety. The events we have seen are outrageous.

Last week, the minister and an Taoiseach Enda Kenny met with senior officers of the gardaí and were briefed on what progress was being made in the investigations into recent gang-related murders in inner city Dublin.

We must not let this record of improvement nor the safety and good name of our capital city be dragged down by the violence and thuggery of these gangs.


Tagging criminals

The minister said new legislation will be enacted to protect the public against crimes committed by offenders out on bail.

The bill will allow for refusal of bail for repeat serious offenders and will strengthen garda powers to deal with breaches of bail.

It will also include new provisions to allow for electronic tagging of those on bail, where requested by gardaí, to reduce re-offending.

Garda resources

She admitted the reduction in the garda resources and cuts in overtime had impacted on gang-related crime. However, she said a dedicated 55-strong armed support unit for Dublin is being established.

I have assured An Garda Síochána that they have the full support of the Government in their efforts to disrupt gang-related crime and they will continue to access all resources necessary, including extensive overtime, to support them in delivering concentrated visible policing measures to tackle gang-related crime.

She commended the gardaí, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Special Criminal Court for their work and hit out at parties that were calling for the abolition of the court.

Fitzgerald also admitted that technology for gardaí was “far behind”.

She said investments were being made in new vehicles, new night-time surveillance equipment for the Garda Air Support Unit, which will be used to track and disrupt burglars and criminal gangs from the air, as well as new ICT equipment and the refurbished of over 32 garda stations.

Sinn Féin’s Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said people in her constituency are “living in fear”.

She said she was disappointed with the minister’s speech, stating that it did not pay enough attention to communities that are afraid to walk down the streets to the shops or to have a quiet drink in their local pub.

McDonald said it was time special attention was paid to the Kinahan and Hutch feud in Dublin’s inner city, similar as to what was done in Limerick in the past.

Sinn Finn’s Dublin Mid-West TD, Eoin Ó Broin said it was important to highlight that the the small number of criminals do not represent the people in these communities.

He hit out at Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for their lack of investment in both garda resource and areas of deprivation.

O’Broin said without huge efforts being made, “things will only get worse”.

He said there was a growing increase in marginalised people being attracted to the drug trade as they are not being enveloped in mainstream society.

Funding cuts to community programmes of between 50% – 100% need has contributed to today’s situation, he said.

“Unless you tackle that, you are not going to tackle the scourge of gun crime.”

Independent for Change TD Clare Daly said the incidents of people being gunned down on Dublin streets is a consequence on government policy over the last number of decades.

She said if areas of deprivation are not invested in, the commitments made by the minister are only “window dressing”.

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