11 October 2007 Edition
CRIME : 'Get gardaí out from behind desks and on to the streets'
Gun murders — Lenihan must free up gardaí to fight crime
MORE gun murders in Dublin and Limerick have again focused attention on the problem of gangland violence, the drugs problem and the need for the Garda to adapt to the current situation.
Brian Downes (40) and Eddie Ward (24) were murdered in a gun attack in the Greenhills Road area of Walkinstown, Dublin, on Friday, 5 October. Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh described the killings as “callous”.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Gary Grant, a father of three children, was shot on St Ita’s Street in St Mary’s Park estate in Limerick City at around 10.15pm on Monday night as armed detectives were patrolling the streets nearby.
Reacting to the Dublin murders, Ó Snodaigh said:
“The killing of two men in the Walkinstown area shows the callous disregard for life on the Dublin crime scene. This is exactly why Sinn Féin has been calling on the Garda to make serious drug and gun crime their top priority in the coming year.
“I am calling on the Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan, to immediately implement Sinn Féin’s proposals for the civilianisation of Garda office duties. This would free up gardaí from administrative tasks and allow them to be redeployed into the fight against crime.”
The Sinn Féin representative met the Garda Inspectorate during the week and he said that the party’s proposals have been reflected in the latest report from the Garda Inspectorate.
Ó Snodaigh called on Justice Minister Brian Lenihan to free up approximately 4,000 gardaí from administrative duties and redeploy them into the fight against crime. Speaking on Monday, he welcomed the announcement that gardaí may be given extra resources to fight serious crime but said what is actually needed is a robust civilianisation of the Garda.
“Sound proposals for the civilianisation of administrative Garda tasks have been made by both Sinn Féin and the Garda Inspectorate. If implemented, Sinn Féin’s proposal would free up approximately 4,000 fully-trained gardaí to be redeployed into the fight against crime.
“However, the Justice Minister continues to drag his feet. What is required is a full-frontal attack on serious drug and gun crime. If the Justice Minister is serious about tackling the serious criminals in our society then he must free up the gardaí to do it.”
Sinn Féin Limerick East representative Maurice Quinlivan condemned the murder of Gary Grant in Limerick, saying it highlights the fact that the Government has failed to get a grip on gun crime.
“This shooting occurred in a built-up residential area, a relatively small area, which has witnessed more than half a dozen shootings in the past week. This is simply unacceptable,” Quinlivan said.
Speaking on Tuesday, he said that while the background to the shooting remains unclear, it is crystal clear that “we have experienced far too many incidents like this in our city”. He continued: “It is time we got a grip on crime here. We need the extra gardaí as proposed in the Fitzgerald report to be deployed immediately as a minimum.
“We don’t need promises from the Justice Minister – what we urgently need is action.”