Firearm killings soar as gangland murders treble in just 12 months
MURDERS officially linked to organised crime gangs have more than trebled in the past year.
After a substantial fall in 2011 the overall murder toll has also jumped again, particularly those involving firearms.
But the number of fatal knife attacks remains constant.
And the garda detection rate for murder has increased to 69pc, which compares favour-ably with rates in other forces.
Figures compiled up to December 20 show there were 51 murders committed this year, compared with 38 for the corresponding period in 2011.
This breaks down into 19 in the Dublin metropolitan region, 10 in the south-east, eight in the northern region, six in the south, five in the eastern region and three in the west.
Fourteen of the murders were officially categorised as "organised crime", an increase of 10 on last year's total in that category.
Two of the murders were carried out by dissidents – the shooting of gangland godfather Eamon Kelly on the northside of Dublin earlier this month and the gun attack on Andrew Allen in a rented house in Buncrana, Co Donegal, last February after he had been ordered by terrorists to leave his native Derry city six months earlier.
Dissidents were also blamed for two murders last year.
Firearms were used in 20 of the murders, with handguns involved in 14, shotguns in six, and rifles in two.
The double murder of Andrew Barry and Zilvinas Varnauskas in Kilcock, Co Kildare, last March involved both a handgun and a shotgun.
Knives or sharp instruments were used in 14 of the deaths, up by one on 2011.
Meanwhile, physical violence, including strangulation, was responsible for 10 deaths; while blunt weapons such as bottles, hurleys, and clubs were used in two murders.
Five other deaths have not been officially categorised but one of them is thought to be the result of an arson attack, three were killed in their homes, and the other victim sustained wounds during an attack. Two of the higher profile murders – the shootings of Kelly this month and Real IRA faction boss Alan Ryan in September – were both classified as detected.
Among the other victims listed in this year's toll were Marioara Rostas, who disappeared in 2008 but her body was not found until 2012 when it was confirmed that she had been shot with a rifle and James Kenny, shot dead with a handgun in 2010 but his body was not recovered for two years.