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Just eight charged in gang law 'crackdown'

JUST eight people have been charged under tough new anti-gang laws.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who promised a crackdown on gangland crime while he was in Opposition, revealed the figure in the Dail.

Since the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 came in on July 23, 2009, it has been used on 160 occasions "where arrests have been made relating to organised crime activity," he said.

"To date, eight individuals have been charged under the provisions," Mr Shatter told Deputy Jonathan O'Brien (SF), who asked for the number of persons charged, the numbers convicted and the number of files with the DPP.

The minister said two people had been charged under sections dealing with directing a criminal organisation and six had been charged with participating in organised crime.

While in Opposition, Mr Shatter told the Herald that he wanted a new approach to gangland crime based on the targeting of Dublin crime boss Martin 'The General' Cahill.

And while he praised the introduction of powerful anti-gang laws by his predecessor Dermot Ahern, he said they were not being used.

"My concern is that there has been a lot of legislation passed but the drugs gangs have turned some parts of the city of Dublin into the old Wild West.


"They just shoot at random. They show no concern for innocent bystanders."

He also said that the public could not adopt the attitude of "let them shoot each other".

"I can go back to the days of Martin Cahill when the guards basically staked out his house and put a constant garda force on him and his gang members. They put them under the maximum pressure. I believe we need that sort of concentrated focused effort," he said.

Mr Shatter also said in the Dail that he had been told by the gardai that the arrests referred to had also resulted in other charges being preferred for a range of other offences including firearms offences, offences relating to the sale and supply of drugs and drug trafficking, violent disorder and demanding money with menaces.

"To date, there has been no person convicted before the courts for the offences."