Saturday 23 March 2019

Lenihan fears spread of 'deplorable' violence

Tom Brady Security Editor

Justice Minister Brian Lenihan last night branded the latest upsurge in gang violence in Limerick as deplorable.

And he commended gardai for their rapid action in responding to incidents there over the past three days.

Mr Lenihan pointed out that criminal charges had been preferred after the murder of Mark Moloney, in Garryowen, on Saturday afternoon, while they were following "definite leads" over the death of James Cronin.

Gardai had also recovered firearms they suspected had been used in Saturday's shooting incidents, he added.

Mr Lenihan said he was concerned that the feud appeared to be spreading and more families were becoming involved.

That was one of the reasons why an additional 70 gardai had been deployed in Limerick over the past year, he said.

Suggestions that bugging of suspects should be used in evidence against them in court were still being examined by officials in his department, Mr Lenihan said.

But he said this study had to be carried out very carefully as gardai were already gathering a huge amount of intelligence through surveillance and he did not want to bring in any measures that could interfere with that work.

"I don't want to compromise that," he told RTE in an interview.

Asked about the attitude of the courts to granting bail, he said it was an issue for the judiciary to decide if a person posed a risk to society and should be allowed out on bail. But he did not think bail was a relevant issue in these investigations.

Mr Lenihan insisted that Operation Anvil, the nationwide strike against serious crime, would not be affected by any cutbacks.

A total of 100 extra gardai are being sent into the crime blackspots at the suggestion of former Dublin city manager, John Fitzgerald, who is in charge of the regeneration project in Limerick.

Mr Fitzgerald said the top priority was to restore confidence in the neighbourhoods and make the local people more positive in their outlook by showing them that the areas could be transformed and the social problems solved.

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