Gardai step up intelligence gathering on dissidents ahead of 1916 centenary events
Gardai have stepped up their intelligence gathering on dissident republicans as they finalise their planning for the 1916 centenary commemoration events.
Both Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald assured the public that their safety was the top priority at the programme of events, including the massive Easter Sunday parade through the streets of Dublin.
The minister said this was a very important year for the nation and one that should be enjoyed by everybody.
She said there was always a security risk involved on such occasions but the gardai had no particular information in relation to any specific threat.
The minister and the commissioner were speaking at the Garda College in Templemore where a fourth intake of 99 recruits began training.
The first intake of a fresh batch of 600 recruits will join the college in April followed by another group in June, the commissioner said.
Asked about the latest outbreak of gangland feuding in Dublin, Ms O'Sullivan said organised crime activity had to be viewed in context with 22 gangland murders in 2009.
This dropped to only three murders last year, she added.
But she admitted there had been a resurgence in gangland activity this year.
Over the past year, she said the gardai had re-organised their units dealing with drugs and organised crime and had made over 100 gangland arrests and seized over €24m worth of drugs and a very considerable quantity of firearms.
She added that the gardai had a proven track record in that particular area and worked closely with their counterparts in other jurisdictions to combat the gangs with international links.
The commissioner also disclosed she was seeking further talks with the Garda Inspectorate about their suggestion that there was a thousand gardai at headquarters in the Phoenix Park and suggested there were 250 in desk jobs that could be put on the frontline.
Ms O'Sullivan said they intended to ask the Inspectorate to help identify the jobs held by fully trained gardai, who could be released from them, and to also outline their definition of "frontline".
She also pointed out that there had been 41 reports published into the Garda Siochana since 2005 and these had produced over 700 recommendations.