Paul Williams: These heavily armed savages think they are untouchable and invincible
Published 10/02/2016 | 02:30
The warring sides in the frightening gangland conflagration that has erupted in Dublin were lying low last night after each claiming a life from either side.
There was genuine shock and surprise at the speed with which the Kinahan organisation struck back by gunning down Eddie Hutch, the older brother of former crime boss Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.
The callous killers gunned down the taxi driver who was a completely innocent man and the easiest target in the wider Hutch clan.
They spared no time in exacting bloody revenge just hours after intelligence sources had revealed that the gang had placed contracts on the heads of anyone associated with the wider Hutch gang.
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The hit team wanted to show their enemies - including the gardaí and the public for whom they have little regard - that they were well able to stage a dramatic counter-offensive.
For the second time in four days, these two bands of glorified terrorists showed that they had very little concerns for the safety of the public or encountering the gardaí.
This was obvious given the fact that gardaí had deployed major armed reinforcements to patrol the streets, mount checkpoints and carry out searches in the neighbourhoods where the factions reside on both sides of the River Liffey.
But just like the assassins who stormed the Regency Hotel, the killers of Eddie Hutch didn't seem concerned about running into the gardaí and were undoubtedly prepared to shoot it out if they had to.
So it is fair to assume that it was again probably fortuitous that gardaí hadn't been on the scene.
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The methodology of these killer gangs, if it can be described as such, clearly illustrates the perilous job our under-paid and under-resourced police officers are being asked to do.
The reckless behaviour of the heavily-armed savages on both sides demonstrates that they think they are untouchable and invincible.
They have as much regard for the life of a garda as they do that of their victim.
Most other crime gangs intent on dispensing brutal retribution on a former associate or rival tend to factor in the chances of running into the police when planning an assassination.
The murder of Eddie Hutch, a man in his late 50s with no involvement in organised crime, was a particularly brutal and savage act.
He was singled out simply because he was close to his sibling Gerry: the Kinahan mob wanted to inflict the deepest emotional wound possible on their perceived enemy.
A year ago it would have been unthinkable that the gangland veteran and his family would be involved in a conflict with life-long friends and business associates, the Kinahans.
- Read more: 'Shocked': Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch returns as armed gardai lockdown capital's streets
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In Mafia parlance 'The Monk' is a man of 'respect', which basically means no one dares to cross or antagonise him or any of his family.
When the Kinahans murdered Gary Hutch and reneged on a solemn agreement between two gangland veterans - Christy Kinahan and Gerry Hutch - they also crossed a line that few would ever dare. That killing led to the outrage in the Regency Hotel which, in turn, resulted in the murder of a man whose only crime it seems was to bear the same blood and name as 'The Monk'.
This horrifying spiral of violence has also drawn into sharp focus the withering effects of austerity on our police force - and left the outgoing Government very much on the back foot.
The unexpected crisis has caused panic for Fine Gael and their loyal servants in Garda management who have repeatedly told us that there is no issue with resources.
That sense of panic was revealed when the Justice Minister announced the establishment of an extra regional support unit in Dublin, an extra €5m for overtime and "saturation policing".
While the new armed unit was already announced weeks ago, it is in all our interests that its deployment is not a matter of too little, too late.
Even the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has hit out, claiming this armed response unit will mean 55 gardaí are being reassigned from frontline operational policing duties - affecting service delivery elsewhere.