herald

Thursday 29 September 2016

Garda's gangbusters taskforce to tackle deadly feud ready to begin

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald

A special gangland task force launched to target Dublin's feuding gangs will begin its operations this week.

Members of the 44-strong unit have already met with Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Mahoney, who is in charge of national support services and will oversee the task force.

Officers were assigned to their units at a meeting in Garda HQ on Monday, with some members undergoing firearm courses this week, while others are operational as of today.

The unit includes a Detective Inspector from Donnybrook Garda Station as well as seven sergeants.

A further 30 armed gardai were chosen for the hand-picked unit from across the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), with five gardai being chosen from each of the six divisions.

Six divisional assets profilers are also part of the task force, and will liaise with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to collate information on gangland suspects.

The garda team will mainly patrol the DMR North, North Central and South Central divisions, where most of the criminals involved in the Hutch/Kinahan feud reside.

Cost

Concerns have been raised that no formal application process was undertaken for the Special Crime Task Force, which was announced by Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald in May.

The task force will be divided into five units and will be fitted with new firearms, equipment and vehicles.

It is not known if the cost of the unit is part of the annual garda budget or if additional funds have been set aside.

The squad will be controlled and coordinated by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).

In total seven people have been murdered as part of the Hutch/Kinahan feud, with six murders believed to have been carried out on the orders of the Kinahan cartel.

Meanwhile, it emerged that the Armed Support Unit (ASU) has been delayed after complaints about the selection process.

"There was no sense to the selection process, people who did better in the fitness test weren't picked while those who barely passed were selected for firearm and driving courses," a source said.

"Because of the controversy top brass decided that everyone who passed the fitness test will move on to the interview process, delaying the unit further."

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