Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has said it is almost impossible to prevent determined gangland criminals from killing each other and, while it is “a matter of huge concern”, she believes gardaí are well-equipped to deal with the situation.
She said both recent murders in Dublin were “absolutely horrific”, but added, while the investigations were at an early stage she did not believe the Clondalkin killing was feud-related like others which had occurred in the capital recently.
The commissioner said what people did not see was that the drugs and organised crime bureau were disrupting crime gangs and had made “significant inroads” into them recently, with over €30m in drugs seized, around 200 arrests, and 30 firearms taken off the streets.
“We will never give up in our fight against organised crime,” she said.
The GRA has said it is concerned about the lack of armed garda units based outside of Dublin.
Ms O’Sullivan said she would increase the number of armed response units, with the Border area being the first to benefit and was intent on focusing on providing “a 24/7 armed capability around the country”.
Meanwhile, the GRA members debated, without conclusion, if all officers should be armed in future.
The topic was raised by Eamonn Ward, who is based in Donegal, and when he joined the gardaí in 1995 said he never envisaged the day he would think about being armed.
However, he said that the killing of colleagues, the rise of seriously armed crime gangs and international terrorism made him think again.
“I don’t want to set out to work every day with a firearm, but if it’s the difference between me coming home at night, I prepared to carry one,” Garda Ward said.
Garda Keith Plunkett, who works in Blanchardstown, said he would not be a fan of having armed uniformed gardaí.
He said: “It could raise the level of firearms incidents between our members and the criminal fraternity.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved