Gangland units won’t be operational during Garda strikes

The Garda’s dedicated organised crime and gangland units will not be operational for the four strike dates in November.
Gangland units won’t be operational during Garda strikes

The Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) and the Special Crime Task Force (SCTF) are also the primary units tasked with targeting and monitoring the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

As it stands, neither of these units have been exempted by the two garda staff associations, whose 12,500 members are due to withdraw their labour on November 4, 11, 18 and 25.

The Garda Representative Association, representing 10,500 frontline gardaí, has already given a “pardon” to members of the elite Emergency Response Unit and the country’s five armed Regional Support Units from taking part in the strikes.

This also extends to members of the Garda Technical Bureau, who have been asked to remain on call to examine evidence from serious crimes. But this exemption is not extended to other key units, including the DOCB or the SCTF.

In a statement, a GRA spokesperson said: “The GRA has respectfully suggested that the rostered members of the ERU and the RSUs report for duty rather than take part in the planned industrial action.

“At this point, no other suggestions are made in respect of other units.”

The total strength of the DCOB and the SCTF is understood to be in excess of 140 staff, including around 120 at garda rank, 20 sergeants, four inspectors, three superintendents and one chief superintendent.

As it stands, only the four senior officers will be on duty on strike days.

The SCTF, which operates under the DCOB, was set up earlier this year to target the middle and lower levels of Dublin’s criminal gangs, with a particular focus on the Kinahan-Hutch gangs.

The DCOB has a national brief and combats organised crime and drug trafficking and leads the charge against the feud. Between these units and local gardaí and detectives, up to 400 gardaí are involved in the 24-hour Operation Hybrid, tasked with combating the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

A security source said: “Obviously, there is an opportunity on the day for a gang to carry out a shooting and we won’t be forgiven”.

But GRA sources have indicated it is up to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to draw up a contingency plan and request emergency cover for the likes of the DCOB and the SDU.

The AGSI has not yet issued exemptions — and said it was up to Ms O’Sullivan to publish a contingency plan.

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