Urgent measures needed to combat kill-at-will gangs

“The shooting dead of a man in a pub in Corduff last night brings to almost 15 the number of people murdered in gangland-style killings so far this year. This is a shocking statistic that requires an immediate response from the Minister for Justice and the Gardai.

“What is of even more concern is that there have been so few charges brought in relation to these killings. It appears that the criminal gangs are operating with virtual impunity and that the crime barons believe they can order the murder of those who may have ‘crossed them’ with little fear of ever being brought to justice.

“The circumstances of last night’s killing were particularly chilling. With two gunmen discharging automatic weapons in a crowded pub, it was a miracle that nobody else was killed.

“The situation in regard to gangs is even worse than it was in the mid 1990. Following the murder of Veronica Guerin the Rainbow Government launched a major assault on the crime world that led to the breaking up of most of those gangs. However, the Fianna Fail/PD government has allowed a new generation of gang leaders to emerge who are every bit as brutal and ruthless as those who murdered Veronica Guerin.

“Working class communities, such as those in my own constituency, are bearing the brunt of the criminal activity of these gangs. There appears to be no appreciation of the policing needs of these communities, which are being left to survive as best they can.

“The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, must acknowledge the crisis we are in and agree with the Garda authorities a package of measures designed to put the gangs permanently out of business. There should also be a review of policing in working class communities and a radical increase in visible garda presence to give people the protection and reassurance they deserve.”