Dissidents targeted amid fears of turf war
Published 10/02/2010 | 05:00
GARDAI are cracking down on suspected dissident republicans, as fears grow of a turf war between the Real IRA and drug gangs.
Authorities have targeted specific areas of Cork city and county less than a fortnight after the Real IRA claimed it was behind the execution-style shooting of convicted drug dealer Ger Stanton (42).
From 7am yesterday, teams of gardai conducted carefully planned raids and searches on homes, business premises and storage sheds at a number of locations in the county.
Sixty uniformed officers were involved in the raids on suspected dissident republicans and their supporters.
A number of premises associated with suspected drug gang leaders were also targeted.
The Irish Independent understands that gardai made a number of seizures, including documentation, leaflets and military-style publicity material. Gardai also seized a quantity of cash, several imitation firearms and a small quantity of drugs. No one was arrested during the course of the operation but gardai refused to rule out arrests at a future date.
The documents seized will now be examined by detectives, though it remains unclear what action, if any, will follow.
A senior garda source said the operation was prompted by concerns that dissident republicans had been making determined efforts to broaden their support base in the Cork area -- and that elements of the Real IRA had been trying to bring more 'turf' under their control in Dublin and Cork.
Meanwhile, gardai have "serious doubts" over the Real IRA claim that they were behind the shooting of Stanton on January 20 last in Wilton, in Cork.
Detectives are instead focussing on the theory that Stanton was killed by a rival drug gang -- possibly allied to a notorious Limerick gang -- in a dispute over a debt or drug shipment.
Ger Stanton was a convicted drug dealer who was associated with one of Cork's biggest drug gangs. He had been scheduled to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court on drug charges this week.