Sunday 15 December 2019

Commissioner got it wrong on resources, says former top garda

Martin Grant

A former Garda Assistant Commissioner believes the force is starved of resources - despite Commisioner Noirin O'Sullivan's statement that resources are not a problem when it comes to tackling gangland crime.

Martin Donnellan is one of the country's longest-serving detectives and rose to serve as Assistant Commissioner before retiring.

The experienced former cop believes the force does not have enough resources to deal with the ongoing gangland feud.

Mr Donnellan's remarks come just days after Commissioner O'Sullivan said that resources were not an issue within the force.

Speaking on RTE's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Donnellan said the recent gangland attacks have developed into a "very serious situation".

However, he said that gangland crime just didn't arrive in the last few days.

"It didn't develop overnight. These people are carrying out assassinations for a quite a number of years," he said.

"The Garda authorities have been starved of resources for the last six years. There was no recruiting, people were retiring, a lot of them when they hit 50.

"The Department of Justice couldn't get rid of them fast enough."


Mr Donnellan claimed that officers who were aged 50 and had 30 years of service received threatening retirement letters from Garda management, on the behalf of the Department of Justice.

He said the letters advised officers that if they did not retire within a certain period, they would lose some of their gratuity which they would be entitled to at the end of their service.

Despite revealing his concerns about resources, Mr Donnellan believes detectives will find the gunmen behind the "frightening" attack at the Regency Hotel and those responsible for the murder of Eddie Hutch.

"I'd be confident enough that they would be caught. It was pure fortune that a lot more people weren't shot.

"We have two assassins going in with rifles that are the favourite weapon for terrorists all over the world.

"They are highly dangerous weapons. Bullets fired from those weapons have the ability to go through a concrete block six inches thick," he added.

On Monday, Commissioner O'Sullivan reassigned 55 officers to establish an elite Garda unit with high-powered weapons in Dublin as the gangland bloodshed escalated.

The Government also pledged to spend an extra €5m to fund garda overtime.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), the body which represents gardai throughout the country, believes a specialist unit is required on a full-time basis.

GRA President Dermot O'Brien said the association welcomes the allocated €5m - but added that it "isn't enough".

Mr O'Brien said the re-assigned gardai were "coming from the front line" which is now "depleted".

"We have the capabilities within An Garda Siochana ... short term fixes have to stop eventually," said Mr O'Brien.

He also rejected suggestions that gardai could be released from clerical duties and be replaced with civilians.

"These people are dealing with very important files ... civilians cannot do that role," he added.

Meanwhile, the opposition believes that lack of resources was one of the main issues facing the force.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin yesterday said the Government is panicking as crime becomes a major issue of the election campaign.

"It is extraordinary in one 36 hours we are told resources are not an issue and the following day, €5m is released," he said.

"It is a sign of panic from the Government's side."


Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News