State fails to jail drug barons: Kenny

THE Government failed to charge and convict a single drug baron over the past five years, Fine Gael claimed yesterday.

The claims followed the double murder of drug dealer Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland and 20-year-old apprentice plumber Anthony Campbell in Finglas on Tuesday, and a separate killing in Co Louth yesterday which was linked to a spate of car hijackings.

During leaders’ questions yesterday, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said it appeared that fewer crimes were being detected and that no drug baron had been imprisoned over the past five years.

“If Government members know who these people are on the basis of the briefings they are given, why is it not possible for the security forces of this country to have Government backing to implement its primary responsibility to keep our citizens safe?” he asked.

Mr Kenny also asked if the Taoiseach had received information which suggested that Mr Hyland was directly involved in the recent murder of the Latvian woman Baiba Saulite.

The Fine Gael leader said it had been brought to his attention that the late Mr Hyland was paying “serious protection money to the Provisional IRA because of internal gangland feuds”.

“According to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, that outfit is supposed to be extinct.

“Do the Taoiseach’s briefings extend to information that the Provisional IRA was in receipt of protection money from the late Mr Hyland and may have been involved in his murder?” he asked.

In response, the Taoiseach said he had no evidence to link Mr Hyland to the murder of Ms Saulite and that he had seen nothing which implicates anyone in the Provisional IRA.

On the issue of resources, Mr Ahern said the Government had at all times given the gardaí full resources and statutory powers to deal with gang warfare.

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