herald

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Taoiseach backs gardai to bring an end to Hutch-Kinahan feud

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is confident gardai can end the bloody Hutch/Kinahan feud that has gripped the capital.

However, he added he is not naive "to the enormous challenge that it is," saying that those involved in the gang war are "very violent people".

Mr Varadkar made the remarks as he and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe visited the north east inner city, one of the communities worst-hit by the violence over the last two years.

The Taoiseach said the warring factions don't just operate in that part of the city, but have international elements as well.

He said he understands the challenge to gardai and thanked them for their work.

Local TD Mr Donohoe credited garda efforts such as armed checkpoints with being successful in preventing further violence.

He said the force is "fully supported by Government".

Mr Varadkar also said all almost all the people living in the neighbourhood are "honest, decent people" and that this shouldn't be forgotten.

"They don't deserve to have violence on their doorstep," he said, adding that the Government is seeking to tackle the problem through the criminal justice system, as well as dealing with the underlying causes of crime, which he said are rooted in disadvantage.

"The Government's policy is that we need to be tough on crime, but also tough on the causes of crime," he said, echoing former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Progress

Mr Varadkar met with locals at a day care centre for the elderly before visiting the Sheriff Street Youth Club.

He launched a report on progress made by the north east inner city task-force, set up by his predecessor Enda Kenny after the gang feud broke out.

Since 2016, a total of €7.5m has been invested in the area, including funds for improving sports and community facilities, as well as security measures.

A further €3.5m has been allocated by the Government for other projects in 2018 and a new primary care centre is set to open in Summerhill later this year.

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