Saturday 18 November 2017

Shatter vows: 'I'll get tough on gangs'

Fionnan Sheahan and Tom Brady

Gardai will "bear down heavily" on gangland criminals, Justice Minister Alan Shatter pledged as he returned from medical treatment.

Mr Shatter was absent from the Dail for the past fortnight as he received medical treatment and was convalescing.

In the wake of a series of gangland murders and shootings, Mr Shatter said the country was not on a slippery slope.

"We will surrender no part of this country, no street in this country, no laneway in this country to criminal gangs," he said.

The minister also said the Real IRA would be dealt with.

He said those involved in criminal activity had "no responsibility for human life".

"I am in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner about all aspects of serious crime and the gardai will continue to bear down heavily on the activities of those involved in gangland crime.

"That is clear from the extent of the garda operations launched against gangs as well as the many drug seizures that have taken place in recent months and weeks," he said.

Meanwhile, the fate of a man suspected of carrying out the murder of gangland figure John Wilson will be determined today.

The suspect was arrested in Ballyfermot in west Dublin last Friday night, hours after the shooting of Mr Wilson at his home in Cloverhill Road.

Gardai are satisfied that Mr Wilson was murdered because of a relatively small debt to a local drug trafficking gang.

The suspect has been in garda custody since then but his seven-day detention period expires today.

Gardai must now determine whether the suspect is to be charged with a criminal offence.

Gardai found the gun used in the murder in a burnt-out Volkswagen Passat estate car, which was abandoned at nearby Cherry Orchard Crescent.

Suspects

During follow-up raids on Wednesday, detectives arrested four more suspects and seized a second car at an address in Ronanstown.

The four men were still being questioned by officers last night and can also be held without charge for up to seven days.

Meanwhile, gardai investigating the murder of Declan O'Reilly, who was shot dead in front of his 11-year-old son while walking along the South Circular Road in Dublin, arrested a man in his 20s yesterday.

The suspect was detained in the south inner city and taken to Kevin Street station.

Gardai are also making significant progress in their hunt for the killers of Gerard Eglington, who was shot dead at his home in Portarlington, Co Laois, last week.

Irish Independent

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