Files on dozen gangs given to DPP
FILES on a dozen gangs have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) by gardai implementing the legislation introduced by the Government last summer.
This was disclosed yesterday by Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who also revealed that his officers were making good progress with their inquiries into the four gun murders in Dublin in the past three weeks.
He pointed out that two of the files had resulted in prosecutions being brought and those cases were currently before the courts.
In the other files, the DPP would decide whether the suspects were to be charged under the anti-gangland laws, which carry jail sentences of up to life.
Mr Murphy said several other garda files were in the pipeline and were currently being prepared for the DPP.
Many of the files focus on gangs led by major criminals in Dublin including the group that formerly surrounded Eamon Dunne, the notorious thug shot dead in a city pub in April.
The file on Dunne was one of the first three to be submitted to the DPP before Christmas and, despite the gang leader's death, it is still being processed.
It contains extensive details of the activities of Dunne's gang, including his drug trafficking empire, armed robbery, illegal debt collections, extortion, threats and intimidation.
Officers have also submitted files on a number of other Dublin-based gangs as well as criminals in several provincial cities including some in Co Limerick.
Some have been put together by members of the force's organised crime unit while others have been compiled by local divisional detectives.
The files stem from a massive review by gardai of criminal files, which began last summer while the new legislation was being piloted through the Oireachtas and a list of around 80 top criminals was discussed at a crime summit at the Garda College in Templemore.
The Garda Commissioner said yesterday that the new legislation dealing with gangland-related crimes had been particularly useful to his force and was being used regularly in their investigations.
"We must keep our focus," he said when asked about the recent murder inquiries and he pointed out that many other major crimes had been foiled as a result of garda actions.
A gang boss can be jailed for life, if convicted of a charge of directing the activities of a criminal outfit while a maximum sentence of 15 years can be imposed for those found guilty of participating in or facilitating the activities of a criminal gang with the aim of helping it to commit offences.
Gardai have also been making use of other new legislative measures including the power to carry out covert surveillance.