THE 25 organised crime gangs (OCGs) are each run like a business, with a hierarchical structure.
The gang boss has an inner circle of trusted lieutenants, forming a hard core of between six and 12 experienced criminals.
The inner circle plots the targets for the gang and carries out negotiations with other outfits or overseas contacts.
An outer circle of criminals are deployed on the "jobs" and are responsible for bringing in drug shipments and staging robberies.
A third layer, a network of family, friends and associates, are handed the fringe tasks of stealing vehicles for the "jobs", arranging a storage depot for the goods and, sometimes, a hiding place for the main players.
The OCG's profits are derived mainly from drug trafficking and armed robberies. Some of the gangs also focus on high-value burglaries while those with cross-Border links engage in cigarette smuggling and fuel laundering.
The gangs are based mainly in the large urban centres such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo, but have links to every county in the State. Many have cross-Border links, while five of the 25 OCGs have significant connections with international crime gangs. Their main overseas contacts are based in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands, which are on key drugs transportation routes. New links are also being forged with Russian gang bosses, particularly those already operating in Spain.