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Monday 10 December 2018

Minister slammed over 'high-visibility policing'

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald (INM)
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald (INM)

Kevin Doyle, Ciara Treacy and John Downing

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has insisted that gardaí have "all necessary resources to provide high-visibility policing" despite another murder in broad daylight.

The Justice Minister and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have defended the Government's response to what she described as "an unprecedented cycle of evil".

However, local politicians questioned the policing plan in Dublin's north inner city, with councillor Christy Burke revealing that some residents have renamed the Emergency Response Unit as the 'Slow Response Unit'.

"I haven't seen anything this bad before, even during the Troubles, and gardaí have to double the efforts they are putting in now," Mr Burke said.

"My main concern is that the community must be protected at all costs. From talking to people, the community once again is in the grip of fear and my concerns are wrapped around the young people and mothers."

Mr Kenny told the Dáil yesterday that he would accept an invitation from Dublin Central TD Maureen O'Sullivan to visit the communities affected by the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

Ms O'Sullivan said: "The armed response unit has been visible at certain times but then you have to balance that with the fact that another person was shot dead like this."

She noted that she hadn't noticed a significant garda presence in the area in recent days.

"New police out of Templemore is not the answer. We have lost so much experience and knowledge and intelligence in recent years. It takes new gardaí time to build that up again."

Fianna Fáil's spokesman on justice, Jim O'Callaghan, 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," he said.

Ms Fitzgerald said the Government and gardaí are confronting the "ruthless gangs intent on violence and revenge".

"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.

The Taoiseach said nobody disputed that fear stalked the streets in some communities.

"It is not normal to have 1,000 intensive armed checkpoints since February in any location. And that is what is being done," Mr Kenny said.

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure and TD for Dublin Central said the problem of gangland violence in Dublin is not a question of garda resources.

“This cycle of murder has shocked, appalled and threatened community that I live beside and in.”

“The Taoiseach is not admitting defeat in relation to this. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.”

“What he is aware of is the kind of individuals we are dealing with are deft to calls to cease this kind of violence.”

“We’ve had 1,000 armed checkpoints in place since March to respond to this.”

He said that even though a garda checkpoint which was stationed in the area the night before wasn't successful in preventing the violence is not a reason to slacken resources.

“We’ve put in place €5m to put in place a new armed support unit…  We will make sure that the funding is in place in relation to garda overtime and equipment,” he added.

Irish Independent

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