Gardaí had ‘no intelligence’ of shooting at boxing weigh-in

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said there was no intelligence to justify having gardaí outside the Regency Hotel on Friday.
Gardaí had ‘no intelligence’ of shooting at boxing weigh-in

This is despite the fact that, almost a week before the shooting, it had been reported that members of criminal gangs were in Dublin to attend boxing events.

David Byrne, 33, was shot dead after a group with AK-47s shot him at a boxing weigh-in event in the Regency Hotel in Dublin.

Asked why gardaí had not been on surveillance outside the hotel on Friday when six gunmen entered, Ms Fitzgerald said: “The gardaí did not have intelligence.”

And addressing the death yesterday of Eddie Hutch, reportedly shot dead in retaliation for Byrne’s death, she said: “Another deplorable example of the ruthlessness of gangland criminals. It seems that some gangs are intent on waging a feud where human life counts for nothing.

“The gardaí will take all necessary steps to try to prevent further bloodshed but we have to recognise the challenges they face. Members of gangs who have fears for their safety should come forward to the gardaí.”

She said that a second Special Criminal Court will now be put into operation by April 4, adding that judges had already been appointed.

The Government had already agreed to setting up the second court to deal with long waiting times for the non-jury court which was set up to deal with terrorism and serious organised crime.

One of Sinn Féin’s key pre-election promises is the abolishment of this court.

Enda Kenny was highly critical of this, saying he did not want a situation where criminals were able to carry out “appalling” crimes.

“I think there is another question that needs to be answered here and that is I see the president of Sinn Féin calling for the abolition of the Special Criminal Court, understand this now, we have set out the administrative functions of setting up the second Special Criminal Court on April 4, and that will become automatic,” said Mr Kenny.

“I don’t want to see a situation where we now have dissident groups or paramilitary groups, or gangland groups — and gangland does exist — being able to carry out this appalling set of actions.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the first gardaí had been dispatched to the scene within a minute on Friday and all had been dispatched in five minutes, but said they had no intelligence to suggest that a gang was planning a hit.

“I have spoken to the commissioner about that this morning and obviously what she said to me is that that was a decision that they took, it was an operational decision, they had no intelligence which they believed would have warranted their presence there,” she said.

“The harsh reality is that intelligence is not always available in relation to the commission of crime.”

Ms Fitzgerald said that “one murder is too many” and the gardaí would now be given all resources needed to find the perpetrators.

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