Assistant Garda Commissioner: 'Nobody’s untouchable, however far away they are'

The shocking images from the Regency Hotel of gangsters dressed as elite gardaí, brandishing military assault weapons, was a “Veronica Guerin” moment for Ireland, a Garda chief has said.

Assistant Garda Commissioner: 'Nobody’s untouchable, however far away they are'

Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan warned the bosses of the Kinahan cartel, who consider themselves untouchable, like the Gilligan gang before them, that “nobody’s untouchable, however far away they are”.

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the murder of Ms Guerin, Mr O’Sullivan said the success of the investigation into her death showed the benefits of “pumping resources” into the force, as had the operations into the Kinahan-Hutch feud murders.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, the head of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau said gangland had become “more violent” since Ms Guerin’s murder on June 26, 1996, with increased access to firearms. He said the drugs market had got bigger and the trade had “gone global”, with Irish gangs boasting contacts with Spanish, Dutch, Eastern European, and South America drugs and firearms networks.

Journalist Veronica Guerin’s car surrounded by gardaí on the Naas Road, on the Lucan dual carriageway, in Dublin, after she was shot dead on June 26, 1996
Journalist Veronica Guerin’s car surrounded by gardaí on the Naas Road, on the Lucan dual carriageway, in Dublin, after she was shot dead on June 26, 1996

Mr O’Sullivan said the images transmitted across the world, of two gunmen about to enter the Regency Hotel in north Dublin on February 5, had shocked the nation.

“It was a Veronica Guerin moment,” he said. “It’s another milestone in criminal history, one that you could look back on and say ‘do you remember that?’

“It was unprecedented to see them do that in the middle of the day.”

That attack by the Hutch gang, resulting in the murder of Kinahan lieutenant David Byrne, sparked five revenge killings by the Kinahan cartel — two of Hutch family members, one of a friend and associate of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, one of a suspected Regency “logistics” man, and a fifth of an innocent passer-by.

Journalist Veronica Guerin during a press conference. Her murder intensified the policing of criminal gangs.
Journalist Veronica Guerin during a press conference. Her murder intensified the policing of criminal gangs.

Mr O’Sullivan said many gangs who thought themselves untouchable “were caught”.

“Nobody’s untouchable, however far they are away.”

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