Taskforce to target ‘people running around with guns’

A 50-strong taskforce to tackle gangland crime will be unveiled by the Government next week.

Taskforce to target ‘people running around with guns’

The gardaí, drawn from experienced crime investigators, will be appointed to the Special Crime Task Force on a full-time basis.

Plans for the taskforce were announced by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan on May 31 as part of their response to organised crime and the murderous Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Seven people had been killed by that stage, six of them by the Kinahan cartel, the most recent the murder of Gareth Hutch on 24 May.

The taskforce will:

n Co-ordinate national and international operations against organised crime gangs; n Focus on gunmen planning, or in the process of conducting, shooting; n Provide a targeted approach to people involved in all ranks of a criminal organisation; n Work with the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the Criminal Assets Bureau; n Take on much of the additional work of CAB in targeting the assets and income of lower level members of criminal gangs and local drug dealers

The taskforce will be Dublin-based and have its own offices, vehicles, and firearms.

“The taskforce will be targeting people running around with guns and going after them proactively, targeting those shooting people and involved in organised crime and if there is wealth attached to them, seize it,” said one source.

The source said it will benefit CAB, which was “almost overwhelmed” with the demands on its services.

The taskforce will co-ordinate activity in Dublin divisions, including in emergencies where gunmen are travelling across the city to carry out attacks.

The unit is also expected to be involved in any decisions to send officers abroad to conduct inquiries with the permission of local police, such as in Spain, where the Kinahan cartel have a base.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald told the Dáil that the taskforce would provide “a dogged focus” on people involved in gangland crime.

The justice minister said the Government had recently approved an extra €55m for gardaí.

She was speaking during the second stage of the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2016, which will allow CAB to seize and detain the proceeds of crime without making a court application.

It also lowers the threshold of proceeds that can be targeted, from €13,000 to €5,000. This will assist in tackling mid-level criminals in local communities.

“Recent months have seen those subordinates of the offshore drug barons bring murder to our streets in an unprecedented way,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

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