Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has welcomed the Government’s decision to appoint a garda liaison officer to the United Arab Emirates – the fugitive home of the Kinahan cartel leadership.
The police boss said that as recently seen in the international operation against the Kinahan Organised Crime Group, the network of liaison officers plays a “critical role” in combating gangs.
Earlier today, Justice Minister Helen McEntee announced that she had received Cabinet approval to expand the network of garda liaison officers.
- The creation of two new posts for Garda Liaison Officers, one in Abu Dhabi, with responsibility for the Middle East region, and the second in Bangkok, with responsibility for the South-East Asia/Australasia region;
- The assignment of an assistant liaison officer to Washington who will support the operation of the current Garda Liaison Officer (GLO) post in the North American region;
- The temporary assignment of two Garda members to assist the French National Police and Gendarmerie during July and August 2022. GLO positions are currently situated in Madrid, Paris, London, The Hague, Washington DC and Bogota (Columbia).
Responding to the announcement, commissioner Harris told the: “As more and more crimes transcend borders, international co-operation between law enforcement agencies has never been important.
“As was seen recently in the transnational action against the Kinahan organised crime group, An Garda Síochána’s expanding network of international liaison offices plays a critical role in tackling crime here and abroad.”
In Dublin, last April, the FBI announced a reward of $5m for information on each of the three leaders of the Kinahan cartel – Daniel Kinahan, his brother Christopher Jnr and their father, and cartel founder, Christy.
US agencies also prohibited any business or financial dealings with the gang or its businesses in the US and issued a travel ban into the US on cartel members, associates and even non-criminal associates of their boxing network.
The UAE similarly adopted financial restrictions on the leadership.
Ms McEntee said: “We have seen the importance of international law enforcement coalitions in recent months as, through collaboration and cooperation with their partners, An Garda Síochána have enjoyed success in pursuing Irish criminals abroad, such as the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.
“Some criminals may think that they can evade justice by leaving Ireland but these law enforcement coalitions demonstrate that they cannot.”
She said the liaison officers engaged with local and regional law enforcement agencies regarding the activities and movement of Irish nationals or people linked to Ireland who An Garda Síochána, and potentially their colleague police services, have an interest in.
“The new GLOs will be crucial in assisting An Garda Síochána in pursuing criminals who spread misery here in Ireland, as well as abroad,” the minister said.
Ms McEntee said this was the second expansion of the network in the past two years following the creation of the Washington and Bogota posts in 2020.
She said these expansions followed a request by Commissioner Harris and a review of the network which recommended the creation of five new regional GLO posts.
The creation of a post in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, is expected to significantly assist in the establishment and deepening of official relations between An Garda Síochána and domestic authorities.
The Kinahan leadership and several senior lieutenants have bases in the country’s second major city, Dubai.