Retiring CAB stalwart makes call for reform
One of the longest-serving members of the Criminal Assets Bureau, who successfully seized houses and property from high-profile gangsters including John Gilligan and Martin Cahill, has retired.
Detective garda Henry Ainsworth was involved with the CAB from its inception in August 1996 following the murder of Sunday Independent crime journalist Veronica Guerin.
From the beginning Gilligan, whose gang murdered Veronica the previous June, was put under the spotlight of the bureau.
And in February this year, Ainsworth watched from a corner of the Supreme Court as the diminutive gangster lost his last three properties after exhausting every court process available.
Ainsworth was also focused on seizing the assets of members of the Kinahan/Hutch cartels in recent months.
At his retirement party in the Camden Court Hotel, not far from the bureau's Harcourt Street HQ, Ainsworth said no case should take 20 years to prosecute.
"That's some people's lifetime and reform is required," he explained. "Let us remember that detective garda Jerry McCabe and Veronica Guerin were assassinated in order to silence them for doing the Trojan work they were doing exposing criminals and masquerading as so-called Republicans in criminal gangs who were amassing wealth and believed themselves to be above the law.
"After their deaths a panicked government set up CAB, and I knew I wanted to be part of this new unit," he said.
Speaking about the media, Henry Ainsworth said: "The good work of the bureau must get out to the general public who love seeing the bureau depriving the criminals of their ill-gotten gains.
"A picture of cars, cash and valuables being taken from the criminal's home is a very powerful image and sends out a very strong message," he added, urging that journalists and broadcasters "keep up the good work".
Ainsworth joined the Garda in October 1986 and was first stationed in Blackrock.
He wasn't the first of his family to join the force. His father Joe had been a prominent member of An Garda Siochana before him, rising to the rank of deputy commissioner.
Joe Ainsworth had actively encouraged Henry on the road to the Garda training college in Templemore.
Henry Ainsworth was praised not only for his dogged detective work, but developing the CAB to become a modern and effective institution that hits criminals where it hurts most, in their pockets.