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13 November 2008 Edition

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Gang violence demands robust response

The murder of 28-year-old Shane Geoghegan in Limerick last weekend has once again brought the issue of drug and gun crime in this country into sharp focus.
Shane Geoghegan, a rugby player with the well known Garryowen club, was shot nine times when he tried to run from his killer and was apparently the victim of mistaken identity. The murder of the avid rugby player occurred while many thousands of Limerick people were enjoying the aftermath of Ireland’s  historic first rugby International in the newly revamped Thomond Park.
In the wake of the most recent gang-related murder, the Government is under renewed pressure to deal with the problem of gang violence.
Sinn Féin Limerick City Representative Maurice Quinlivan has called for a robust response from Government to what he called the “appalling” murder.
“Limerick people are sick and tired of these people and the crime they bring  to  our  city.  These people have murdered an innocent young man who seems to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time enjoying  the  match  with  his  friends.”
Limerick’s gangland feud has got to be stopped and the necessary Garda resources needed to stop it must be deployed until the gangs are broken up. But the problem of gang violence and the drugs trade that fuels it is not confined to Limerick. It is a problem that is eating away at the fabric of society in several parts of the country. A number of entirely innocent people have now been the victims of murderous gang activity.
Sinn Féin has time and again called for the government to prioritise this issue and to work with the community to defeat the drugs gangs. The party has also called on the state to concentrate Garda resources on a number of areas where gang violence is particularly acute.
Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern following his meeting with Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy in the aftermath of the murder of Shane Geoghegan, insisted that Gardaí in Limerick have ‘sufficient resources and adequate legislation’. But this has been refuted by Sinn Féin with Maurice Quinlivan pointing out that due to the use of radio scanners by the criminals in Limerick, the general public are afraid to contact Gardaí or give their names in case Gardaí use them on their radios. The introduction of the Secure Digital Radio Service for Gardaí in Limerick could solve this problem. However, in a response to a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh, the Minister revealed that this service will not be available to Gardaí in Limerick until the first quarter of 2010.
Another service urgently required in Limerick and currently being rolled out in Dublin is the ‘Dial to Stop Drug Dealing’ non-Garda phone service. This service would provide the public in Limerick with confidence to report drug dealing. The Minister must fast-track the introduction of both of these services to Limerick. Such measures could prove crucial in tackling the criminals who murdered Shane Geoghegan.
Those communities suffering at the hands of vicious armed drugs gangs don’t want more promises from the Minister for Justice. They want action.

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