Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin told the Dáil that the State owed a “debt” to Steve Collins and his family.
The Limerick businessman and his family were forced to leave the country last weekend under the Garda Witness Protection Programme because of ongoing intimidation from one of the country’s most notorious crime gangs.
“There is no right-thinking person in the country who does not acknowledge the debt this State has to Mr Collins and his family who stood by the institutions of this State at great personal risk,” said Mr Howlin.
“It is profoundly sad that he had to come to the conclusion that to live a normal life he had to move out of his home city. That is shocking.
“I am aware that the minister for justice and equality and this Government has done everything to stand by Steve Collins and his family and support him in the decision that was best for him and his family,” Mr Howlin said.
Mr Collins’ son, Roy, was shot dead by a member of the McCarthy-Dundon gang in 2009.
Earlier this week, former assistant Garda commissioner Martin Donnellan said the threat posed by criminal gangs was greater than that ever posed by the IRA or any other terrorist outfit.