Wednesday 14 November 2018

'Saturation policing' - Frances Fitzgerald to set up new, permanent armed response unit in wake of gangland murders

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Mark Condren
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Mark Condren

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

A PERMANENT armed response unit is to be established in the Dublin area in response to the two recent gangland murders.

But Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has denied that intelligence failures took place within An Garda Síochána prior to Friday’s attack at the Regency hotel or last night’s murder in Ballybough.

Ms Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan discussed the eruption of gangland warfare in the capital at the Department of Justice today.

The meeting lasted almost two hours - however only Ms Fitzgerald addressed the media afterwards.

The Dublin West TD confirmed plans to set up a permanent armed response unit in Dublin in order to deal with gangland crime.

“We will stand down this threat from these gangs and the garda will have every resource that they need in order to have the kind of armed response that is necessary and the kind of saturation policing that we need to see,” Ms Fitzgerald told reporters.

She said she has full confidence in the garda force - but expressed concern that further attacks could take place.

"We have a cycle now of revenge and retaliation.”

In relation to last night’s murder of Eddie Hutch, Ms Fitzgerald said there were armed garda units across the city.

But she denied that there was failures within the force as a result of the decision not to place a patrol at the Regency Hotel on Friday, where David Byrne was murdered by a gang armed with AK47s.

“The reality is the gardai work on intelligence. Obviously if intelligence had been available, clearly the gardai would have been there. I would be concerned at any intelligence failing of course. But what I would say is gardai did not have intelligence in relation to it,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

She did however confirm that gardai will examine why some 999 calls went unanswered.

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