Friday 23 March 2018

Latest murder is part of 'an unprecedented cycle of evil' – Justice Minister

*No scaling back of armed checkpoints in city centre
*Opposition TDs seek more political intervention

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Tom Burke
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

THE murder of Gareth Hutch is part of an “unprecedented cycle of evil”, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said.

The Tánaiste has committed that armed checkpoints will not be scaled back as long as  “outrageous” incidents such today’s shooting continue.

She described the killing as the “latest outrageous attack on law and order”.

Ms Fitzgerald insisted the Government and An Garda Siochana are confronting the “ruthless gangs intent on violence and revenge” who she said “have no place in any community in this country”.

Read more: Face of latest member of Hutch gang shot dead in Dublin inner city attack

“Major investigations are underway in relation to recent shooting incidents and every necessary resource is available to An Garda Síochána.

“We will continue to provide all necessary resources to provide high visibility policing to reassure communities, including extensive armed checkpoints across the city.

“There has been absolutely no scaling back in these operations, nor will there be as long as these outrages threaten public order in this country,” the minister said.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on Justice Jim O’Callaghan said today’s murder was “shocking but unfortunately is not surprising”.

“It is not acceptable that this brutality is taking place on the streets of our capital. Over the last few months we have seen a spate of gangland killings dominate the media, beginning with the callous shooting in the Regency Hotel in Whitehall,” he said.

The Dublin South Bay TD said that despite the minister’s condemnation and promises to crack down on criminal gangs, the feuding has continued.

“Fianna Fáil is repeating our party’s call for a new Serious and Organised Crime Unit to be established with a remit to include co-operation with Interpol and other police agencies.

“This unit, if adequately resourced, could spearhead the fight against these crime gangs,” he said.

“The residents of Dublin need to see the battle against these criminal gangs intensified, to prevent further attacks like the ones we saw this morning.”

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald, who represents the area where today’s shooting took place, appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

“There is no excuse for the fear inflicted on the people of the inner city by criminals who believe they can flout the law and put the lives of innocents in jeopardy,” she said.

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