Tuesday 23 October 2018

Minister pledges more resources for gardai to tackle gangs

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Gun murder victim Trevor O’Neill
MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Gun murder victim Trevor O’Neill

Philip Ryan and Jim Cusack

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said police forces cannot prevent every horrific gang murder when "unscrupulous" criminals are determined to kill. She was speaking in relation to the murder of innocent Dublin Council worker Trevor O'Neill in Majorca last week.

However, Ms Fitzgerald vowed to tackle the gangs behind the tragic murder of the innocent father-of-three. He was the latest victim in the bloody feud between the Hutch and Kinahan crime gangs.

The minister said her "entire sympathy" is with Mr O'Neill's family including his wife and children who watched as he was shot dead in broad daylight in a case of mistaken identity.

"Cleary this is an appalling and tragic killing. It's outrageous but, be very clear, we will do everything we can both here in Ireland and in cooperating with international colleagues," she said.

"Every resource will be made available... If people are determined to be ruthless killers, not every event can be prevented but everything possible within the scope of An Garda Siochana will be done," she added.

Ms Fitzgerald said she met her counterpart in Spain in recent weeks and has been assured of the full cooperation of Spanish authorities in the war against gangland violence.

Read more: 'If people are determined to be ruthless killers not every event can be prevented' - Justice Minister on innocent Trevor O'Neill murder

Read more: Intended victim of hit that killed innocent Trevor goes into hiding back home in Ireland

"It is a cycle of revenge and retaliation between unscrupulous people but we have beaten gangs and subversives before and I am confident that we will do so again," she said.

Initial intelligence reports suggest that Mr O'Neill's killer is believed to be a young Dublin man who is involved at a low level in the Kinahan drug cartel, according to Garda sources.

Mr O'Neill (41) was walking from the hotel with his family for dinner in a restaurant, his partner Suzanne pushing their youngest child in a buggy, when the gunman walked up and shot Mr O'Neill, who had no criminal connections, in the body and head.

Meanwhile, a former senior detective has said the Government should "hang its head in shame" over the "catastrophe" in policing in Ireland.

Retired Detective Inspector Gerry O'Carroll, told Brendan O'Connor on RTE radio yesterday that Mr O'Neill's murder was "almost too appalling to contemplate".

He said he was shocked and deeply angered and felt compelled to speak out.

"What is it going to take for these people who govern this country to get off their arses and reverse what has gone wrong with the gardai," he said.

"The Garda is now as dysfunctional as the other parts of government. Young officers will go on trying to do their best for society... but I am afraid to say the guards are no longer equipped to do the job."

Sunday Independent

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