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Saturday 22 July 2017

'No evidence that Kinahan cartel has mole in gardai', says Tanaiste

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald says she is 'relentless' in her bid to tackle Dublin's gangs
Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald says she is 'relentless' in her bid to tackle Dublin's gangs

There is no intelligence to support claims that the Kinahan cartel is gleaning intelligence from gardai, Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald has insisted.

Speaking a year on from the deadly Regency Hotel shooting, Ms Fitzgerald said she is "relentless" in her bid to tackle the gangs that brought terror to the capital.

Gangland thug David Byrne (34) was gunned down on February 5, 2016 when armed men burst into the north Dublin hotel and started firing during a boxing weigh-in.

Byrne's killing fuelled the bloody feud between the Kinahan cartel and the Hutch gang that has so far claimed the lives of 11 people.

The latest victim, Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan, was gunned down in front of his partner in Ron- anstown on December 22.

Reports have emerged in the media that criminal elements involved in the bloody feud have managed to gain intelligence from a member, or members, of An Garda Siochana.

Responding to this, Ms Fitzgerald said she has received no information to back up claims of infiltration.

"If there was any issue in relation to that, I would want to know about it. I have no evidence coming to me from Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan or anyone else that stands up to that suggestion," she told the Herald.

One year on, Ms Fitzgerald insists she and the gardai are determined to put a stop to gangland violence.

"I think there is a very clear message going out to the gangs at the moment that both I and An Garda Siochana are absolutely determined. We are not afraid of them. There is no fear," she said in an interview with the Herald this week.

As part of the crackdown on organised crime, Ms Fitzgerald will next week bring forward a bill that aims to toughen the country's bail laws.

Budget

She has tightened the laws surrounding the cash and property held by organised criminals and given far greater powers to the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

The Garda budget has been increased significantly. A new Armed Support Unit has been tasked with protecting the communities of Dublin, neighbourhoods that h ave long lived under a cloud of fear.

Ms Fitzgerald also confirmed the second Special Criminal Court is now in operation and her department is working to ensure it can be made easier for judges to alternate between the two.

Speaking yesterday, Ms Fitzgerald warned the criminals involved in the Kinahan/Hutch feud: "You will not win."

She said there is "heightened security" in Dublin this weekend amid fears that the gangs may use the anniversary of the Regency Hotel murder to carry out fresh attacks.

It will be a year ago tomorrow since David Byrne was gunned down by men posing as gardai in the hotel.

"There is heightened security all of that time. That's the reality of the way we responded to what happened in the Regency Hotel," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"It was an outrage against the community, an outrage against citizens. That's why we reacted very quickly with resources, with legislation, with a new armed response unit for Dublin, with saturation policing, with a huge amount of overtime."

Asked if she had a message for the gangsters involved, she said: "We dealt with a similar situation in Limerick. We dealt with it in Crumlin. It took time. It took resources. These people think they are above the law, but they are not above the law.

"I hope they get that message. That's the message from me as Minister for Justice, it's the message from the Government and the message from An Garda Siochana."

She said the court decision this week to seize the properties of former gang boss John Gilligan proved that nobody is above the law.

"It may take time, but you will not win," she said, before paying tribute to the work of gardai for stopping even more killings.

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