Saturday 22 October 2016

'We need European clampdown on gangs' - ex-minister Quinn

Journalist Veronica Guerin
Journalist Veronica Guerin

The crackdown on gangland crime that followed the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin needs to be repeated now on a wider scale, warned former finance minister Ruairi Quinn.

As gun violence continues on Dublin's streets, the fight against gangland crime needs to be coordinated across Europe, he said. The former politician called for a renewed crackdown in an interview for a documentary, Veronica Guerin: A Legacy, being screened tonight on RTE One television at 9.35pm.

The Sunday Independent crime reporter was shot dead by criminals in Dublin 20 years ago, which led to the Government setting up the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) to confiscate the proceeds of crime.

Mr Quinn was Minister for Finance when legislation set up Cab.

"There is a real crisis here in Ireland but, specifically, in the greater Dublin region. I think what we have to do, and the current generation of young politicians are going to have to look at ways of doing it, they are going to have to do what we did in the past, but this time it has to be done at a European-wide level," he said.


"We don't need another Veronica Guerin. One Veronica Guerin - her murder, her sacrifice - should be enough. It was enough in the beginning, the question now is: 'is it enough still?'" he said.

Former Cab chief Felix McKenna said: "In 1996, we caused massive disruption to organised crime and [Cab is] still at it 20 years later.

"The Criminal Assets Bureau is still causing massive disruption to organised crime. Disruption in itself does not dismantle the organisation. Really, long term these people need to be convicted of major crime. They need to be sent to prison and they need to be kept there," he said.

The programme asks whether the journalist's legacy has been honoured, as the country finds itself in the midst of a spate of murders by drug gangs.

Her husband, Graham Turley, who appears in the programme with their son Cathal, said: "We had all these promises from the ministers at the time and it was all going to be done and dusted. Twenty years down the road, we are back to stage one now.

"There is crime and there's drugs and there's huge amounts of money, it is just going to steamroll on and on and on. The legacy is a thing that has been scattered a little bit," he said.

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