Gardaí have thwarted five gang hits since February
Gardaí say they have prevented five gangland assassinations since February and have vowed to track down those responsible for the recent feud-related murders.
Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan, who is currently in charge of the drugs and organised crime bureau, said there was no criminal gang which stood the test of time.
"Eventually, their members, both at high and low levels, are arrested and their empire falls apart," he said. "Criminal history over the past 20 years shows that gangs come and gangs go. They fall apart and their members are arrested."
Asked about the level of garda intelligence in relation to the Christy Kinahan crime cartel, which has been blamed for six of the seven gangland feud murders since September, he said the gardaí had been investigating that gang since September 1986.
This investigation had resulted in the seizure of drug shipments with a value of millions of euro as well as the confiscation of properties running into millions of euros, along with the arrest and jailing of a number of prominent criminals, he said.
"We are constantly on alert to try to save lives," he said.
He was speaking as a female relative of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch is being provided with a private security escort to take her to and from work in the respected multi-national company where she is employed.
The woman, who is aged in her late 20s and has no involvement in crime, is the latest possible target in the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud whose life is under threat because of who she is related to.
Sources said she is a "valued employee" of the financial company she works for, which has decided to provide her with a security detail.
"These people are effectively her bodyguards," a source said last night.
Also yesterday, two classes of 144 probationer gardaí passed out from the Garda College in Templemore yesterday and were allocated to stations across the country.
Among the probationers was Ciaran McGowan, son of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and Chief Superintendent Jim McGowan, as well as five English-born recruits, two Polish and one each from the United States and Romania.
Meanwhile, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said that the crackdown on rural burglary gangs - Operation Thor - will get more cash as part of €55m in additional funding for the force.
He said: "What we are doing is putting in place the resources now to make sure that the success of Operation Thor - which we have seen over previous months...can be maintained throughout the year and that the levels of overtime necessary to respond to the murderous threat of organised crime across our country... can be maintained."