Belfast Telegraph

Concern for border policing levels in wake of Dublin gang shootings

Gardai may have been reallocated from border areas to deal with recent drug deaths in Dublin, Stormont Justice Minister David Ford said.

An estimated 88 gangs are involved in Northern Ireland narcotics crime and one Assembly member said she was concerned the feud which has seen three people shot dead in the Republic in recent months could spill over the border.

Heavily armed officers have patrolled the streets of Dublin in a bid to prevent further bloodshed.

Mr Ford said: "There is no doubt that the recent upsurge of drug-related crime in Dublin has perhaps led to a reallocation of resources from An Garda Siochana which may well have had some effect on border areas."

He said a planned joint agency between PSNI and the Garda would see better co-operation.

SDLP Assembly member Dolores Kelly said: "Such Mafia-type violence should not spill onto the streets here."

David Byrne, 34, was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of Dublin on February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles.

The father of two lived in Crumlin and was said to have been associated with an international drugs gang operating out of the south of Spain.

Murder squad detectives believe his murder was in retaliation for the shooting dead of Gary Hutch on the Costa del Sol last September.

Byrne's killing was subsequently avenged three days later with the murder in his Dublin home of Eddie Hutch, 55, brother of suspected armed robber Gerry Hutch, known as the Monk.

Gardai have said they are keeping an open mind over the involvement of suspected dissident republicans in the hotel killing.

Two families, the Kinahans and the Hutchs, are understood to be embroiled in a bitter feud which turned bloody last September when Gary Hutch was shot dead in Spain.

He was a nephew of the latest gangland victim Eddie Hutch and also Gerry Hutch.

A Garda spokesman said: "Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with the overall policing arrangements and operational strategies are continually monitored and reviewed.

"Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

"All Garda resources are kept under constant review by the Garda Commissioner. Where a deficiency in a particular resource is identified the matter would be considered fully and addressed accordingly."


From Belfast Telegraph