Gardaí have intervened in more than 30 potential murders since the Regency Hotel attack late last summer.
Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll said the increased resources at the Special Crime Operations unit have led to numerous lives being saved since the Hutch-Kinahan feud escalated on Irish soil with the murder of David Byrne at the Dublin hotel in August 2016.
“We’re talking about in excess of 30 circumstances where we have intervened where life could have been lost,” said Mr O’Driscoll said yesterday.
“Now when I talk about 30 circumstances, some of those will involve a number of occasions where one life, where one particular life was threatened.”
He also said “elaborate weaponry” has been seized by the gardaí. The haul, so far this year, included three assault rifles, two shotguns, six semi-automatic pistols, 10 revolvers, and two submachine guns.
Furthermore, over €100m worth of drugs have been seized in the last two years and an additional 117 detectives are being appointed to Special Crime Operations.
However, when asked about the double murder in Ballymun last week where two innocent people, Annette Corbally, 48, and Clinton Shannon, 30, were shot dead, the assistant commissioner said organised crime still posed a “significant threat” to society.
“Well, clearly there is a significant threat and that is evidenced by the number of interventions that I have spoken about,” said Mr O’Driscoll.
Commenting specifically on the murders, he said that it did not “pan out” as the perpetrators had intended and that the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau was involved in the investigation of the crime.
“Those sorts of incidents happen, and it’s very difficult because the incident itself probably did not pan out in the way that those involved intended it to do so, but that is what happens when people get firearms into their hands,” said Mr O’Donovan.
“Pat Leahy, who is the assistant commissioner in charge of the Dublin metropolitan region, is heading that murder investigation. He has the support of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau also and they are providing invaluable assistance and hopefully like so many other murders that have occurred in the recent past that sort of assistance will bring this investigation to a successful conclusion also.”
The assistant commissioner said the result of the Special Crime Operations’s work means there are now multiple charges of “conspiracy to murder” before the courts.
“We have a growing number of charges at the moment before the court relating to conspiracy to murder,” he said. “That is a charge that is not one that has been as common throughout our history of dealing with crime as other charges because in order to achieve that sort of a charge you have got there before the act has happened.”
Detective Superintendent Seamus Boland, who heads the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, said there needs to be an “acceptance” that organised crime exists in Ireland.
“I think there needs to be an acceptance that Irish society is no different to any other society in the western world and, unfortunately, organised crime is a reality,” he said.
However, Det Supt Boland said that Ireland’s geography was beneficial to the fight against crime.
“All of these illegal products [controlled drugs and firearms] have to be either imported into the country by air or by sea,” said Det Supt Boland.
“A lot of the successes we’ve had is down to the co-operation being received in the communities.”
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