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Top garda steps up to oversee VIP visits

THE former boss of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has been appointed as head of the country's crime and security operations.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony will oversee security for the forthcoming visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Barack Obama.

AC O'Mahony is one of the country's top detectives and has worked on a number of major investigations -- including the Robert Holohan killing and the Malcolm Macarthur case.

He takes up his new post today after being transferred from Galway, where he has been in charge of the western region.

The move is part of the first reshuffle of senior officers by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan since he took command of the force at the start of the year.

In Dublin, Chief Supt Dave Dowling is transferred from Blanchardstown to Dun Laoghaire as part of the moves.





Killer

AC O'Mahony led the unit which arrested killer Wayne O'Donoghue in January 2005, 12 days after he strangled 11-year-old schoolboy Robert Holohan at the O'Donoghue home in Midleton, Co Cork.

The role of the crime and security branch is to identify and analyse the threat to the State from terrorists and organised crime gangs. AC O'Mahony will head the operations of the Special Detective Unit, which is responsible for the investigation of threats to the State security and the monitoring of persons who pose a threat to this on both national and international fronts.

The unit also provides security for visiting VIPs, cash-in-transit movements and armed response and is the operational wing of the witness security programme.

The Emergency Response Unit also comes under his control.





Murdered

A native of Milford, Co Cork, he took over the running of CAB in October 2006, following the retirement of Chief Supt Felix McKenna.

The father-of-three joined the gardai in 1977 and worked on a number of very high-profile cases.

Among them was the Malcom Macarthur case in 1982.

Macarthur murdered 29-year-old nurse Bridie Gargan, who worked at St James's Hospital, Dublin, as she was sunbathing in the Phoenix Park. He also shot a Co Offaly farmer.

AC O'Mahony also investigated the December 1998 rape and murder of schoolgirl Siobhan Hynes, whose body was found on a beach at Carraroe, Connemara.

hnews@herald.ie