Monday 26 September 2016

Justice Minister: 'Nobody is above the law... we have shown it in the past and we'll show it again'

Alan O’Keeffe

Published 07/06/2016 | 21:32

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan both declared they were determined to bring an end to gangland slayings on the streets of Dublin.

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Tanaiste Fitzgerald warned that “nobody is above the law” and she was “utterly determined” to support gardai in bringing the culprits to justice.

Commissioner O’Sullivan said the families of gangland killings were receiving the support of garda liaison officers and the force was determined to solve the current spate of murders.

Minister Fitzgerald told Independent.ie that whole communities have been victims of the recent gangland slayings in Dublin.

"Criminals have to be brought to justice and I am utterly and totally committed to bringing criminals to justice, as is the Government.

"Nobody is outside the justice system. Nobody is above the law. Nobody. We have shown that against The Provisionals, we've shown it in the past against organised crime, and we will show it again," she said.

She also stated "We must work with victims' groups... We have to resource the gardai and I am and I will resource the gardai to deal with the gangland crime we are seeing at present.

"There is no question but that the gardai are being, and will be, resourced," she said.

She referred to the families of the victims of the gangland murders who had suffered so much.

"There are always victims (of these killings), there are individuals, there are families, there are communities. The criminal justice system hasn't been sensitive enough to the needs of victims and it is changing fairly dramatically and it needs to change fairly dramatically."

Earlier, she had spoke at an event in Dublin marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Support After Homicide volunteer organisation.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said the entire garda force is behind the communities in Dublin that have been suffering as a result of the gangland slayings in recent months.

She told Independent.ie  "We treat each single victim as unique. Their experience is is unique. We are very, very conscious that behind every tragedy and every murder is a family that is bereaved.

“It is very important that the services that are provided to those families remain the same and we are absolutely committed to doing that. We appoint family liason officers to each individual case and they will deal with that family right through the investigation and the whole process as well."

She wanted the communities affected by gangland violence to know that the gardai are determined to bring the cycle of violence to an end.

"Our dedication, our commitment, and our resolve to solving these crimes is absolute.  We have more than 20 people arrested and a number of people charged before the courts and our determination will continue in that regard.

"In addition to our investigative strands, we are also there to support the community. The people who are committing these crimes have absolutely no support in the community.

"We are very conscious of the trauma and the impact that these crimes have on the community as well as on the individual families that are bereaved.  Obviously, those families are part of that community as well and we are very conscious of that. It's a very important part of what we do is to support the community as well as the families," she said.

Commissioner O'Sullivan, speaking earlier at an event marking 20 years of the Support After Homicide volunteer organisation which supports the families of victims, said  "To have a member of your family murdered is absolutely unimaginable and there are no words that can make it more real than the words you hear when the news is first broken.

When it happens, it's absolutely horrific. It doesn't matter if a dead person was part of a family targetted by another family, the bereaved are just that - absolutely bereaved and bereft at the loss of a loved one."

"Anyone who has lost a loved one to homicide, and I'm very conscious that today the anniversary of Jerry McCabe, it's unfortunate but a significant number of garda families have shared that devastating loss. And that terrible way when someone you love is taken away from you.

"So I'm very conscious today of the anniversary of our colleague, Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and, indeed, what that brings home for his wife Ann, his colleagues including Ben O'Sullivan who was injured that day, and also the colleagues and families of other people, other members of the Garda Siochana, and indeed, anybody who has lost a loved one through murder.  A day like today, and the upcoming anniversary of the death of Veronica Guerin, will bring home to every single person who has lost a loved one in that way, just how raw that emotion remains...

"A homicide, or murder as we call it, is so brutally sudden that I suspect many of those left behind never, ever, get over the shock of it," said the commissioner.

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