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Garda focus on dissidents: Callinan

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New Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has pledged to tackle dissidents (Maxwell Photography)

New Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has pledged to tackle dissidents (Maxwell Photography)

New Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has pledged to tackle dissidents (Maxwell Photography)

The new Garda Commissioner has vowed to target dissident terror groups and organised crime gangs despite cuts to the policing budget and officer numbers.

Martin Callinan revealed national and international security, crime, traffic and engaging with the community were key priorities since he took over as head of An Garda Siochana in December.

The Commissioner said that despite budget cuts, and that Garda numbers are to be slashed by up to 1,500, the quality of intelligence will not be compromised.

There are an estimated 150 dissidents in the Republic, with another 350 in Northern Ireland.

"My aim is to thwart their activities and arrest and seize as much as I possibly can in terms of disrupting these people," he said.

Mr Callinan recently meet with PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott and they agreed to combat the threat posed by dissident groups such as the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann.

He said that, traditionally, dissidents in the Republic have given logistical support for active service units in Northern Ireland.

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"We're monitoring very, very closely key people within each of these groupings," the Commissioner continued. "All of the successes we have had, particularly in the last 18 months, have been intelligence-led policing and that will be my focus for the foreseeable future because you are dealing with secret, oath-bound societies.

"You will not be effective in dealing with those people using ordinary conventional methods, such as high-visibility patrols.

"I will put whatever resources are necessary, human or financial, into thwarting the activities of the dissidents."


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