A key figure long associated with the Criminal Assets Bureau said Cork would have suffered far more from the influence of organised crime and drug barons had it not been for the dedication of a senior garda, about to step down.
Barry Galvin, the former head of CAB and prominent in its setting up to target crime gangs, paid tribute to assistant commissioner Tony Quilter who has announced he is retiring from the force after 32 years.
Born in Charleville, Co Cork, Mr Quilter had been involved in a number of high-profile drug interceptions, money-laundering probes, and murder investigations, after he had been transferred to the detective branch in 1991.
Two years later, he set up the city’s crime taskforce which mainly battled drug barons, but was also heavily involved in the investigation of the €26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in December 2004.
In 2007, he was promoted to detective chief superintendent, based in Dublin, and went on to head the Garda Technical Bureau and National Drugs Unit.
Three years ago, he was appointed assistant commissioner in charge of the southern region.
“We soldiered together for many years and I’d have to say he was one of the finest, most genuine policemen I’ve ever worked with,” said CAB founder and its first legal officer, Mr Galvin.
“He was hugely motivated to get the job done and bring perpetrators to justice. He was involved in many landmark cases and the reason Cork didn’t have the same level of serious crime like other cities was due to Tony Quilter and his colleagues.
“He was always a team player and he will be a huge loss to the force.”
The 54-year-old Mr Quilter has handed in his notice and is expected to retire early next year.
There is speculation he will take over a policing organisation based overseas.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved