Frances Fitzgerald: No intelligence to suggest increased risk of dissident attacks

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald says there is no specific intelligence to suggest there is a heightened risk of attacks by dissident republicans during the 1916 commemorations later this month.

Speaking in the wake of a car bomb attack by dissident republicans in Belfast last week, she pledged that the gardaí would remain on heightened alert for any threat of violence and would also remain vigilant at the funeral today of Dublin’s latest gangland victim, republican Vincent Ryan, 25, who was shot dead in Finglas last Monday.

Attending the passing-out ceremony for 99 new garda members at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, Ms Fitzgerald said that Garda Commissioner Noreen O’Sullivan and her senior officers had been in contact with the Ryan family about the funeral arrangements and they made it clear they did not want revenge.

“This is a very important year for us. We have important celebrations coming up and there is every reason to believe they will be enjoyed and celebrated by very many people.

“Obviously, there is always an ongoing security situation and that’s very much within the operational remit of the garda commissioner to manage that. But we have no particular information at present in relation to any specific threat.”

Garda Colm O’Loughlin, from Monageer, Co Wexford, gets a kiss from his daughter Molly, 2, at the Garda graduations in Templemore yesterday. Garda O’Loughlin will be stationed in Tullamore.

“As we see in Ireland, and around the world even; if you have saturation policing you can have criminal events, you can have murders. But what you have to do is take every possible action and give the resources that are necessary to have the greatest degree of public safety that can be provided.

“I believe there is very good operational work at present, there have [been] ongoing investigations into recent murders.

“This is not an easy situation; it’s a challenging situation for An Garda Siochána. These are people who, as we have seen, are intent on revenge and we’ve seen the appalling atrocities that they’ve committed.

“And every effort will be made to pursue those prosecutions and bring these people to justice. As I’ve said before, these people are not outside the law.”

There was a “concern” over the possibility of paramilitary display at the funeral. When Vincent Ryan’s brother, the Real IRA key figure Alan Ryan, was murdered in September 2012 men and women dressed in paramilitary uniforms fired shots over his coffin.

“The public, I believe, are appalled at those types of displays and An Garda Siochána will take every step possible to ensure there is a dignified funeral,” she said.

Garda Andrew Barrett, Doughcloyne, Co Cork, with his daughter Helen. Garda Barrett will be stationed in Waterford.

Earlier, the garda commissioner said she accepted that there has been a resurgence in gangland murders in the past two months in spite of armed patrols and checkpoints around Dublin but said that, now matter how many gardaí there are, they cannot be everywhere all the time.

The commissioner also pointed out there have been 41 reports with more than 700 recommendations on work of the gardaí over the past 10 years.

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