herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Commissioner: 'We can't be at every event watching criminals'

Armed gardai from the force’s Emergency Response Unit on patrol in the north inner city. Photo: PA
Armed gardai from the force’s Emergency Response Unit on patrol in the north inner city. Photo: PA

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has claimed gardai cannot be deployed at all sporting events "just because criminals may be there".

Commissioner O'Sullivan, who is under major pressure to get a handle on gangland warfare, yesterday defended the response of gardai as they investigated two murders in four days.

She said there was no "viable intelligence" to suggest Friday's horrific attack at the Regency Hotel was imminent.

Undercover

"There was no specific intelligence indicating any threat last Friday at the Regency Hotel," she said.

"I think it's also important to say that gardai are deployed on intelligence and risk assessed. We also have to be very careful how we divide hours of An Garda Siochana.

"Last Friday was a sporting event and we cannot have An Garda Siochana going to every single event just because criminals may be there."

While four undercover staff reporters from the Herald and Sunday World were at the event at hotel on Friday, gardai have been criticised for not being present.

When asked why gardai were unable to prevent Monday night's murder on Poplar Row - despite the rolling checkpoints across the city - the garda chief said: "Sometimes people are determined to carry out a terrible atrocity or a murder such as happened, if they have the intent and will to do it.

"Unfortunately, the reality is that it's very difficult to prevent every single crime and what we attempt to do is mitigate these crimes as best we can."

Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald yesterday announced €5m will be provided for a permanent armed response unit in Dublin - which was already flagged last month.

She launched a staunch defence of gardai and rejected accusations that intelligence failures preceded the murders of David Byrne and Eddie Hutch.

"I would be concerned at any intelligence failing, of course. But what I would say is gardai did not have intelligence in relation to it," Ms Fitzgerald said.

She confirmed that gardai will examine why some 999 calls went unanswered.

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