'Mockie' mavericks helped break up notorious crime family
ACTING Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan was one of the original members of the famous 'Mockie' squad which worked the streets of Dublin in the early 1980s.
The ad-hoc undercover team of young, enthusiastic gardai based at city centre stations was a spontaneous response to the heroin plaque which had swamped the streets of the capital.
Posing as heroin addicts O'Sullivan (right) and her colleagues eventually broke up the notorious Dunne crime family that was credited with introducing heroin to Dublin.
As a result they were nicknamed the Mockies by addicts and dealers.
But O'Sullivan and the rest of the ad hoc unit were seen as being mavericks by garda management and they were disbanded.
The Mockies concept was resurrected in 1997 by former Commissioner Pat Byrne.
However, despite a steadily increasing demand for the services of the specialist unit garda management appear to be afraid of increasing its size and capacity.
This is all the more bizarre considering Noirin O'Sullivan's background in undercover work and the fact that she has been in charge of such operations for over three years.
Senior garda sources say that the interim commissioner is as conservative as any of her predecessors when it comes to the introduction of more modern approaches to crime investigation.
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of undercover specialist units by international law enforcement agencies.
In a joint operation with gardai in 2007 two members of the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency, posing as gun dealers, exposed a plot by Wayne Dundon to buy a huge cache of firearms.
Two members of Dundon's gang were arrested in Cork as they tried to buy rocket launchers and assault rifles from the English agents.
However, despite the obvious benefits of such specialists, security sources say that garda management has been reluctant to increase the number of undercover operatives because of a culture of innate conservatism.