Gardaí ‘taking this personally’, says chief in gangland probe

A Garda chief has said he is “absolutely confident” that investigations into four murders in his area will be successful.

Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy, head of the Dublin North Central Division, said there was an extended number of potential targets and that “you cannot protect everybody all the time”.

He is overseeing four murder probes in his division, each of them suspected of being carried out by gunmen hired by the Kinahan crime cartel.

They include the murders of Eddie Hutch in Ballybough on February 8, Martin O’Rourke on Sheriff St on April 14, Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub on North Strand on April 25, and Gareth Hutch on North Cumberland St last Tuesday.

“I am sure we will get to the bottom of this,” Chief Supt Leahy told RTÉ’s News at One yesterday.

“I am absolutely confident, and I wouldn’t say this lightly, that we will be successful in these investigations and I suggest we will be successful in some of them sooner rather than later.”

Gardaí arrested a man in relation to the murder of Eddie Hutch earlier in the week, while a suspect in the shooting dead of Gareth Hutch handed himself into Garda custody on Tuesday.

Detectives believe they have identified the second gunman in Tuesday’s attack — a 30-year-old INLA man. Both men are from the north inner city.

Chief Supt Leahy said he hoped by arresting and charging suspects that they can deter other killings.

“I hope people realise that An Garda Síochána have serious capacity to respond to incidents like this.”

He said he accepted that many of the killers are local to the north inner city and that cartel bosses abroad were involved.

“We would accept a lot of the activity is local, no doubt about that, and we are pursuing that at the moment, but there is absolutely an international element to this.”

He said part of the Garda strategy was to “determine who the targets are and who the potential assailants are likely to be”.

He said: “You identify where they frequent, their local haunts, where they live, and you map that out and you address the response time.”

Chief Supt Leahy did not accept there were scores of local people in danger, but accepted the targeted family had extended families and relatives in the area.

“Not all are potential victims. Of course, there are people who are potentially at higher risk than others. Now, we give some attention to everybody, but we focus on people that are likely to be real potential targets and the real potential assailants.”

He added: “You cannot protect everybody all the time”.

He said he had great expertise in his investigators and said local gardaí were working hard: “They are taking this personally. This is their community. They have a duty of care and they have skin in the game.”

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