Wednesday 21 February 2018

Quinn: go in hard against gangs as we did following Guerin death

Veronica Guerin: investigative reporter killed by a criminal gang Photo: David Conachy
Veronica Guerin: investigative reporter killed by a criminal gang Photo: David Conachy

Alan O'Keeffe

The crackdown on gangland crime that followed the murder of 'Sunday Independent' journalist Veronica Guerin needs to be repeated now on a wider scale, former finance minister Ruairí Quinn has warned.

As gun violence continues on Dublin's streets, the fight against gangland crime needs to be co-ordinated across Europe, he said.

The former Labour politician called for a renewed crackdown in an interview for a documentary, 'Veronica Guerin: A Legacy' being screened on RTÉ One television at 9.35pm tonight.

The crime reporter was shot dead by criminals in Dublin 20 years ago. Her brutal murder led to the Government setting up the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to confiscate the proceeds of crime.

Mr Quinn was the Minister for Finance when legislation set up CAB.

He said: "There is a real crisis here in Ireland but specifically in the greater Dublin region.

"I think what we have to do - and the current generation of young politicians are going to have to look at ways of doing it - they are going to have to do what we did in the past, but this time it has to be done at a European-wide level.

"We don't need another Veronica Guerin. One Veronica Guerin, her murder, her sacrifice, should be enough. It was enough in the beginning, the question now is, 'is it enough still?'"

Former CAB chief Felix McKenna said: "In 1996, we caused massive disruption to organised crime and 20 years later the Criminal Assets Bureau is still causing massive disruption to organised crime.

"Disruption in itself does not dismantle the organisation. Really, long term, these people need to be convicted of major crime. They need to be sent to prison and they need to be kept there."

The programme asks whether the journalist's legacy has been honoured, as the country finds itself in the midst of a spate of murders by drug gangs.

Her husband Graham Turley, who appears in the programme with their son Cathal, said: "We had all these promises from the ministers at the time and it was all going to be done and dusted. Twenty years down the road, we are back to stage one now.

"There is crime and there's drugs and there's huge amounts of money, it is just going to steamroll on and on and on. The legacy is a thing that has been scattered a little bit."

Irish Independent

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