Tuesday 24 October 2017

Shatter rules out new anti-crime laws

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter is ruling out introducing new laws to assist the gardai in tackling criminals like those who murdered Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.

Mr Shatter and other ministers also insist there is no connection between the closure of garda stations, cuts to the force's funding and the murder of Det Gda Donohoe.

The Dail will this week debate a private member's motion tabled by Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins calling on Mr Shatter to change policy direction.

But Mr Shatter defended his policies, and said there are as many gardai now as there were at the height of the boom.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the gardai were moving to smart policing, which will make better use of the force from now on.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte also said the killing of Det Gda Donohoe "did not happen because of the closure of garda stations or the cuts in the garda budget".

And, speaking on Today FM, Mr Shatter said "this isn't the moment to be talking about resources".

"Look, we have bad people in the community," Mr Shatter said. "We will always have bad people who commit terrible acts, and this is a terrible act. This isn't the moment to be talking about resources.

"There was no resource issue of any relevance to what occurred on Friday evening.

"The reality here is we have bad people on this island. We have those engaged in criminal terrorist activities of a subversive nature who fly the Tricolour as a flag of convenience and who are substantially interested in their own personal financial gain.

"Either way, what happened is totally unacceptable. The full rigours of the law will be applied to bringing them to justice and it is my hope that the gardai get every co-operation they require."

He also ruled out bringing in new legislation, similar to the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) following the murder of Veronica Guerin in 1996.

"There is substantial legislation already in place which facilitates the gardai doing what is necessary to ensure that they can bring to justice the individuals who are responsible," Mr Shatter added.

He said the "only missing piece in the legislative jigsaw" when he came into office was the establishment of a DNA database, which will be brought before the Dail in a "matter of weeks".

"In the context of this particular investigation, the gardai have available to them the resources they require, the legislation they require to bring to justice those responsible."

Mr Collins' motion will focus on 100 stations which are due to close this week, but the Limerick TD said the murder of Det Gda Donohoe "will bring added poignancy to this debate".

Irish Independent

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