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Sunday 4 December 2016

Gardaí 'not resourced' to fight gangland crime - Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman

Mark O'Regan and Shane Phelan

Published 06/02/2016 | 02:30

Gardaí at the Regency Hotel in the wake of the gangland shooting attack
Gardaí at the Regency Hotel in the wake of the gangland shooting attack

GardaÍ are "dangerously under-resourced" to tackle gangland crime, while the closure of garda stations means criminals have little fear of being caught.

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Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman Niall Collins has said a dedicated garda unit is urgently needed to tackle gun crime which is "out of control".

The fact that the assailants opened fire in plain view of so many people showed that they had no fear, he warned.

"This is an indictment of government policy around crime and policing," he told the Irish Independent.

"The Regency Hotel is only 400 yards from what used to be Whitehall garda station.

"It's yet another example of how communities have been left unpoliced by Fine Gael and Labour policies."

Some 40 homeless families were living in temporary accommodation in the hotel when the gunmen opened fire.

Fianna Fáil councillor Paul McAuliffe warned that the level of violent crime in the city was now "out of control".

The Dublin North West candidate said there were more than 600 crimes involving a firearm in Dublin city last year.

He said unless gardaí were "adequately resourced", the scourge of violent crime was set to "dramatically increase".

"Across our capital, we have seen guns and knives being used, not just in gangland murders, but increasingly in burglaries, muggings and drunken disputes."

Referring to yesterday's incident at the hotel, he said: "There were a lot of tourists who had just arrived from the airport."

Local councillor Andrew Keegan of the Anti-Austerity Alliance also said the area had lost significant garda resources.

"Whitehall garda station has been closed and Santry is now part-time. Ballymun is full-time but the resources are diminished and seem to be shared with north County Dublin," he said.

"We have a huge issue here with the lack of a police presence. I am getting calls on a weekly basis.

"This situation has been going on for the last three or four years."

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan pointed out that community policing forums in Dublin central had proved highly effective.

She said such initiatives were required in other parts of the city to keep the "lines of communication" open with residents who were concerned about gangland crime.

Irish Independent

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