Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Our feuding gangs could end up like cartel thugs shooting up restaurants' - retired leading Garda Tony Hickey

Paul Williams pictured with retired Assistant Garda Commissioner Tony Hickey
Paul Williams pictured with retired Assistant Garda Commissioner Tony Hickey

Paul Williams

The decorated garda who targeted John Gilligan and his murderous gang believes no group is untouchable and that “the time will come” for the country’s organised crime gangs.

Retired Assistant Garda Commissioner Tony Hickey, who was the Chief Superintendent in charge of investigating the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, also raised concerns over the disregard being shown for innocent people by contemporary criminals.

“I’m no expert and have no inside track but what I hear through the grapevine is that some of the Hutches were involved with the Kinahans at the highest level and for whatever reason there was a hit placed on one Hutch member, there was a meeting, money exchanged hands and it was like something out of The Sopranos.

“I was at a seminar in the States a number of years ago with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the FBI. They talked about how the Mafia would go into a bar and shoot a man in the head and leave.

“But then Colombians arrived to Florida to distribute cocaine. They would go into a bar and shoot up the entire place. That’s the difference and maybe that’s the direction we’re heading? I don’t know.”

The former senior garda also discussed the dynamics of an organised crime outfit, and how internal paranoia can often lead to its downfall.

“There is so much paranoia involved, there is no honour among thieves and the gangs don’t trust each other deep down. They have to stay close to the action to make sure they don’t get ripped off.

“Gilligan himself was caught with money in Heathrow, because his bagman was arrested in Lucan.

“(Martin) Cahill was lucky, on a number of occasions several units were close to catching him, but he got shot.

“The same applies to the gangs right to the present day, their time will come as well and somebody else will take over,” he said.

Tony Hickey also discussed the investigation into the murder of heroic journalist Veronica Guerin – and how the lack of interaction with various national agencies made it difficult to target Gilligan and his gang prior to the killing.

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