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Editorial: 'Brutal gang violence too grim for political point-scoring'

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Gardaí search an area around a house in Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, in relation to the death of Keane Mulready-Woods. Photo: Colin Keegan

Gardaí search an area around a house in Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, in relation to the death of Keane Mulready-Woods. Photo: Colin Keegan

Colin Keegan

Gardaí search an area around a house in Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, in relation to the death of Keane Mulready-Woods. Photo: Colin Keegan

Sometimes we need reminding that for every crime there is a victim.

Not this week. The deeply disturbing details about the dismembering of teenager Keane Mulready-Woods, and the diabolical use of his remains to send a message to a feuding gang, marked a new low in the descent into darkness.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan took themselves to Drogheda, where the blood feud that claimed the boy victim first began.

Mr Varadkar wished to reassure people that Fine Gael "is the party of law and order". But as he was doing so, his message was being undermined by another cold-blooded gangland double murder attempt as two men were shot at the back of Dublin Airport.

Inevitably, in an election such an unprecedented cycle of blood-letting will be seen as a test.

But this unnerving series of brutal events transcends politics and corrodes our very veneer of stability. And candidates should understand such inhumanity is too grim and too grave for political point-scoring.

The Government's revulsion and condemnation is appropriate but more reassuring still would be arrests. Mr Varadkar has pledged to put the murderers behind bars. "We are the party that has restored Garda recruitment, that has given the gardaí more resources than ever before," he said.

He also slated the previous Fianna Fáil-led government for reducing Garda numbers.

Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan hit back, accusing Fine Gael of doing "virtually nothing" to fight crime in the last nine years.

While Labour leader Brendan Howlin argued a more joined-up, multi-agency approach was needed to end the town's gangland feud, and with the "intensity" of policing that led to the demise of criminal gangs in Limerick. He may have a point.

But it should be remembered gangland crime and billion-dollar drug profits did not happen overnight. It grew out of supply and demand and people's willingness to pay.

Behind 'recreational drug use' lies a sinister secret world thriving on suffering and addiction. Our drug menace has been growing for five decades. In our reports, the only things that change are the dates and photographs and names of the scenes, the victims, and perpetrators.

The trade escalates and evolves in proportion to the rewards that go with it. As the riches rise, so too does the ruthlessness. Life becomes worthless and utterly disposable.

For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit. As if to prove the point, it has been reported one gang leader in the Drogheda feud has placed a €250,000 bounty on the head of a murderer. And so the cycle continues.

Only the distance between cradle and grave gets shorter.

Irish Independent