46pc favour internment for gangland crimes - poll
Imprisonment without trial viewed as the right response to spate of killings
Almost half of over 40-year-olds would like to see internment without trial brought back for drug crimes, a Sunday Independent poll has shown.
The survey by MillwardBrown was carried out last week in the days before the latest gangland feud murder last Friday of David Douglas (55), a member of the IRA’s Dublin unit, which has been heavily involved in drug smuggling for almost two decades.
The poll found that 46pc of people felt that 'internment without trial' was an appropriate response to gangland activity. In groups aged from 35 up to 44, over 65 and across Labour, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael voters there was more than 50pc support for internment.
In order to introduce such legislation, the State would have to derogate from major international justice treaties including the European Convention on Human Rights. Internment has not been used in the Republic since the IRA's 'Border Campaign' of 1957-1961. It was last used in Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1976 but was not introduced in the Republic.
The findings in the poll reflect views shared with the Garda's own Public Attitude Survey based on a nationally representative base of 6,000 respondents. It found that 98pc of the population thought that crime was a serious problem and also showed low levels of expectation about the Garda's ability to counter organised crime.
The latest gangland murder of David Douglas (55) near the Oliver Bond flats complex in south inner Dublin, garda sources say, is part of the feud between the south Dublin-based Kinahan gang and its north Dublin rivals, the Hutch gang.
Douglas had close links to the Hutch gang, despite having previously worked along with other IRA figures in importing drugs for the Kinahan cartel. An attempt was made to murder Douglas last November near his home in Cabra, in north Dublin. He was hit by at least three bullets in the chest but recovered in hospital.
Local sources said yesterday that Douglas made entreaties to the Kinahan gang and had been assured that he was no longer a 'target'. This may have led him to feel confident enough to visit a business he ran near the Oliver Bond flats, the Council complex where Christy Kinahan lived before his ascent through the Dublin crime world and eventual move to the Costa del Sol.
The murder of David, also known as Daithi, Douglas is the first time that a man known in Dublin as a senior IRA figure has been murdered due to the organisation's direct involvement in the drugs trade. Garda sources said that while they do not expect the IRA to become engaged in feuding, they are concerned that IRA members may retaliate and that this might lead to a further escalation of violence.
Gardai also suspect the murder was carried out on behalf of the Kinahan cartel by a hired assassin who is one of the main suspects in the murder of Eddie Hutch (59), brother of Gerry Hutch, who was shot dead at his home in north-inner Dublin in the days after the Regency Hotel attack in February in which leading Kinahan associate David Byrne (32) was shot dead.
The hitman, in his 20s, is a relative of a former major drug dealer in northwest Dublin who is believed to have been murdered by associates of the Hutch gang during one of the bouts of feuding around a decade ago.
The latest murder may also be tied to the shooting dead of Douglas's associate, Darren Kearns (34), who was shot as he left a public house in Blackhorse Avenue on December 30 last.