Cuts to garda funding allowing gangland feud to spiral out of control
On Monday night, the ruthless, callous killers tooled up and went out again to claim more blood in a feud which is spiralling out of control.
The two armed and masked thugs displayed their sense of being untouchable - and predilection for brutal violence - when they walked into a pub in Summerhill and blasted dissident Republican Martin Barr to death.
And in a completely unconnected incident on the other side of the city, in Clondalkin, another man was also gunned down apparently as a result of a personal dispute.
It illustrates how fundamentally violent and dangerous our society has become.
But it is the latest murder in the Kinahan and Hutch gang feud which is most worrying as it indicates that this all-out war is far from over. It is extremely personal and hateful.
Barr's murder brings to six the total number of deaths which have taken place since the Kinahans reneged on an agreement and executed Gary Hutch, the nephew of crime boss Gerry the Monk Hutch, in Spain last September.
The spectacular attack on the Regency Hotel in February set a new precedent in gangland violence in this country and was intended to wipe out gang leader Daniel Kinahan and his closest lieutenants.
But the heavily armed, five-member hit team - three of whom were equipped with AK47s and dressed like a garda SWAT team - failed in their deadly mission but still managed to murder drug dealer David Byrne.
That attack unleashed a lethal backlash from the Kinahans, who are hell-bent on wiping out everyone close to the Monk.
So far these mindless savages have murdered five people since February, including a completely innocent man, young father Martin O'Rourke, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
These days the gardaí trying to keep a lid on this murder madness say they are just waiting to see where and when the next killing is going to take place.
It is particular chilling to think that this gang warfare is so predictable - and that more lives both innocent and not so innocent are going to be taken as surely as night follows day.
Attending the annual conference of the GRA here in Killarney it was easy to see why these gun gangs feel that they can operate with impunity.
The representatives of the rank and file gardaí have painted an honest and very bleak picture of the sorry state of our police force as a result of relentless cutbacks and under-resourcing.
It was absolutely shocking to hear that our frontline uniformed officers and detectives have received no tactical training for the past 13 years.
And it was sobering to hear from other delegates yesterday that the first officers who arrived at the scene of the Regency Hotel attack last February were being driven by an officer who was not allowed to use either the squad car's siren or blue lights.
That is an outrageous indictment of garda management who have allowed the standards to crumble, and of course the Government, who have starved the gardaí of resources.
Yesterday, Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan began her address to the conference by asking for a moment's silence for those gardaí who have been murdered in the line of duty.
Judging by what her rank and file officers had to say, there is a high probability, given the current rise in armed crime, that next year the gathering delegates will stand in silence to remember even more comrades who fall foul of the gunmen.