Sunday 17 December 2017

'We've lost the war' - Jimmy Guerin


Councillor Jimmy Guerin
Councillor Jimmy Guerin

Criminal gangs have become stronger and more ruthless since the 1996 murder of Veronica Guerin, her brother has said.

Jimmy Guerin, a councillor and election candidate, last night issued a stinging criticism of the response by successive governments to gangland crime, saying we've "lost the war".

"In the last 20 years criminal gangs have emerged much stronger and more ruthless that ever before and every government since 1996 has failed to tackle criminals," he said.

"Successive governments have let down the memory of Veronica ... by failing to provide the resources required to beat the gangs."

"Someone said to me didn't we get the Criminal Assets Bureau. David Byrne who was shot on Friday was 30-odd and drove a Lamborghini. Tell me how we're better off?" he said.

"Surely it's unfortunate that journalists and photographers were working undercover, yet the guards weren't there.

"If that doesn't remind you of Veronica going to Gilligan's and the gardai not knowing the strength and the resilience of the gang.

"Gardai do not place the necessary surveillance on these criminals because they know there is no point. In 1996 we had some chance but in 2016 we've no chance," he added.

"We've lost the war and that's the sad part of it."

Mr Guerin's remarks came as political parties clashed over the future of the Special Criminal Court.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams claimed there is no such thing as "gangland" and appeared to suggest that his party would consider placing jurors in witness protection-type schemes in the event of the abolition of the Special Criminal Court.

"There is lazy journalism which uses the word gangland as if these communities were lands that gangs inhabited," Mr Adams said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny branded Sinn Fein's ongoing campaign to have the court abolished as "outrageous" in light of Friday's gangland attack.

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