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'Garda cuts will see more innocents die', say victims' families

RELATIVES of innocent gun victims Donna Cleary and Anthony Campbell fear that garda cutbacks will lead to more deaths. The families of the two young people have appealed for politicians not to reduce numbers in the force.

Senior gardai have warned they could lose up to 1,500 members this year, although Justice Minister Alan Shatter has denied this.

Donna (22) was shot dead after a man who was refused entry to a house party opened fire outside a house in Coolock in March 2006.

And apprentice plumber Anthony Campbell (20) was shot because he could have identified the killers of gang kingping Marlo Hyland in Finglas in December of the same year. He was carrying out plumbing work in the house where Hyland was staying, unaware of who was upstairs or what was about to happen when the gunmen arrived and killed them both.

Donna's father, Peter, today criticised the garda cutbacks, saying the public are in danger if criminals and gangland thugs feel there is less policing on the streets.

"How can the gardai control crime if there are cutbacks?" he asked. "It's ridiculous. Gardai are needed on the streets or more people could end up like Donna."

Mr Cleary, who is now bringing up Donna's son Clayton (9) with his wife Kathleen, called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to reconsider the cutbacks. "I call on him to look again at these cuts, but with the Government today they are giving nothing to anybody, it's cuts all around," he told the Herald.

His views were echoed by Christine Campbell, the mother of Anthony.

"I know there are cutbacks all over, but it's innocent people who will suffer cuts in policing and hospitals," she said.