ONCE again an innocent person has fallen victim to the idiotic bloodlust of Dublin gangsters.
Keith Walker became the latest innocent to fall victim to these out-of-control lunatics when he was shot dead last Friday as he delivered pigeons to a club in Clonsilla.
This 36-year-old dad was an entirely innocent man, murdered in a case of mistaken identity. What a savage and tragic act of stupidity.
It was also a miracle that other innocent people were not seriously injured or killed in the attack.
Unfortunately what occurred in Clonsilla is not a unique case. In recent years Irish gangs have carried out a number of shootings that have left innocent people dead and injured.
The Clonsilla shooting had chilling echoes of another high-profile murder. In 2008 Shane Geoghegan was shot dead in Limerick during a bloody feud between warring crime gangs. He was entirely innocent and had been mistaken for another man by a bungling gunman. Thankfully that hitman is now serving a life sentence for his crime.
In February of this year an 11-year-old boy was shot in his home in Tallaght when a gang of thugs attacked the house. A day earlier a six-year-old girl who was on a moped with her dad narrowly escaped serious injury when a gunman fired on her father in Ballyfermot.
In June of last year seven-year-old innocent Sean Scully was playing outside his home in Ballyfermot when he was hit by a bullet. He is now confined to a wheelchair.
Go back a few years and other names spring to mind. Not all were victims mistaken identity but all were innocent victims who were murdered, Remember Baiba Saulite, shot dead in cold blood at her own front door in 2006? Or plumber Anthony Campbell, shot dead that same year at a house where gangster Marlo Hyland was staying?
The psychopathic gunmen in all these cases showed flagrant contempt for the lives of the innocent people caught in the crossfire of their murderous activities.
Why? It's simple. Over the past decade the detection rate for gangland murders has been, by my reckoning, about 10pc. Organised crime murders have proved very difficult to solve.
There are exceptions. Steve Collins and his family bravely stood up to the gang that murdered Shane Geoghegan. But they are the exception.
The recently retired Central Criminal Court judge Paul Carney spoke tellingly in 2010 of an "atmosphere of intimidation" at the trial of a gangster convicted of attempted murder.
While the numbers of gangland murders have fallen in recent years the gangsters have not gone away.
Two measures are now needed.
Firstly, all accused of gang-linked murders should be have their cases heard in the Special Criminal Court.
Secondly, and most importantly, those convicted of such murders should serve a minimum of 30 years without parole.