Joan Burton: Coalition doing all it can to tackle gangland crime

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said the Government is doing all it can to provide extra resources to gardaí in a bid to end Dublin’s gangland violence and “put some of the worst perpetrators behind bars for a very long time”.

The Labour leader said the coalition is taking the matter seriously as Eddie Hutch senior, the brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, was buried in the capital after being shot in retaliation for the Regency Hotel murder.

Speaking at the launch of her party’s equality policy document beside ex-Labour TD Liz McManus and Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, Ms Burton said it is important to remember that innocent people related to those who have died are grieving.

However, she said the coalition is cracking down on gangland crime and will leave no stone unturned to put the worst offenders in jail for a long time.

“Everybody involved in this gangland nightmare of atrocities is somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s father and for the relatives today, the families don’t want to see further violence.

“But given the level of money involved in drugs, and the kind of territorial turf wars involved, we’ve had to allocate additional resources,” she said.

Asked if politicians have a responsibility not to socialise in any way with individuals linked to illegal activities after her colleagues Joe Costello and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin were both photographed at separate events with Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, Ms Burton said:

“If some of the people we’re talking about were to walk into the room here, unless some of yourselves in the media tipped me off I wouldn’t actually know who they are. And in an era of selfies and photos ... with my hand on my heart I couldn’t vouch for everybody in the photo.”

Gerry ’The Monk’ Hutch
Gerry ’The Monk’ Hutch

Meanwhile, Ms Burton has said she does not believe a referendum on the eighth amendment will take place in the next government term unless Labour is returned to power.

The Tánaiste also said her party is committed to promoting independent living for people with disabilities, equal pay and the creation of 100 multi-denominational schools over the next five years.

Speaking on RTÉ Six One News, she said the plight of one in every nine children in consistent poverty and housing difficulties is an ongoing cause of concern for her.

Asked if a new student loan system would be introduced for third-level colleges and universities, she said it would concern her but no decision can be made until an independent report is published.

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