Fall in gang killings as recession stalls trade in cocaine
A HUGE fall in demand for cocaine as a result of the recession has contributed to a dramatic drop in the number of gangland murders.
The decline in the drug trade has impacted heavily on serious crime by eliminating many of the turf wars that sparked off a raft of killings.
Coupled with the arrest of either suspected or convicted hitmen, gangland has now altered radically.
Internal garda statistics show there have been only four murders categorised as "organised crime" so far this year, compared with a total of 19 for all of last year, a staggering reduction of 79pc.
However, the murder rate, without the gangland hits, remains static at 32.
The past week has seen a major drive by the gardai to tackle the unsolved murders, with more than two dozen arrests in Dublin and Limerick following a review co-ordinated by senior officers from the force headquarters in Phoenix Park.
Officers are satisfied they are making progress in many of their 'live' investigations and have been boosted by recent convictions in the courts.
These include the conviction of Keith Wilson, from Ballyfermot, Dublin, who was found guilty of the murder of Daniel Gaynor, from Finglas.
Mr Gaynor was thought to have been a hitman and was the prime suspect for the shooting of innocent postman Robert Delany, who is still in a vegetative state three years later. Mr Gaynor was also on a garda shortlist for a fatal stabbing.
Wilson's brother, Eric, was convicted of a fatal shooting in a Costa del Sol bar in Spain and was believed by gardai to be the prime suspect for at least three murders here and on the shortlist for a further two.
And Michael Taylor Jnr (31) was found guilty of the murder of Paul Kelly in Clontarf in 2007 following a 10-day trial.
A breakdown of the 36 murders committed so far this year show that 14 were in the Dublin region, 10 in the south, six in the west and two each in the northern, eastern and south-eastern regions.
Gardai have made detections in 23 of the murders, a rate of 64pc. Last year there were 53 recorded murders, of which 35 were marked "detected".
Five of those related to incidents linked to organised crime, representing a detection rate of 26pc in that category, while the rate for the rest stands at 88pc at present.
Gardai have been scoring a lot of successes through a greater focus on intelligence-led and targeted operations.