Crackdown on gangland will not relent, says senior garda
The Garda head of special crime operations warned gangland thugs that the crackdown at home and abroad will continue to be given top priority throughout the year.
Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll told the Irish Independent: "We are continuing to have successes at home and abroad. Our efforts to tackle organised crime and investigate incidents related to it will be unrelenting throughout 2018."
Senior officers have stressed there will be no cutbacks in the resources deployed to combat organised crime.
Additional personnel have been allocated to the units involved in the campaign and the numbers are expected to increase again later in the year as the overall strength of the organisation is boosted by the recruitment of an extra 800 gardaí and 500 civilians.
The Garda specialist units have saved at least 48 lives in the greater Dublin area and one in Co Wexford since the Regency Hotel murder, 20 of them in 2016 and 29 since then.
However, Derek Coakley Hutch was shot dead in Clondalkin earlier this year. He had been served with a written notice that gardaí had intelligence his life was in danger.
One officer said: "We expect that when we serve similar notices on people that they will take every precaution they can to reduce that risk.
"We continue to seize guns and intercept intended hits but we require an input from the person served with the under-threat notice."
Since it was established in March 2015, after a restructuring of the specialist units, the Garda drugs and organised crime bureau (DOCB) has seized 82 firearms, including more than 40 handguns, eight machine guns, seven assault and two other rifles, and 10 stun guns.
In 2017 a total of 20 handguns were recovered, compared with five in 2015 and 11 in 2016. Some of the captured weapons were described as military grade.