Belfast Telegraph

We cannot prevent every attack, says Garda chief in wake of Dublin killings

By Niall O'Connor

The Republic's most senior police officer has warned that criminals determined on carrying out murder will do if they have the intent.

As pressure mounted on Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan over two gangland killings in four days, the police chief maintained she cannot have officers at every single event just because criminals may be there.

She said that as far as gardai were concerned a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel last Friday was merely a sporting occasion.

"There was no specific intelligence indicating any threat last Friday at the Regency Hotel," said the Commissioner.

"I think it's also important to say that gardai are deployed on intelligence and risk assessed.

"We also have to be very careful how we divide hours of an Garda Siochana.

"Last Friday was a sporting event and we can not have members of An Garda Siochana going to every single event just because criminals may be there.

"If there was intelligence in place there would have been a policing and strategy plan in place."

Convicted criminal David Byrne - a nephew of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson and a member of the international drugs cartel run by Christy Kinahan - was shot dead when six armed men stormed the north Dublin hotel on Friday afternoon during a boxing weigh-in.

On Monday night taxi driver Eddie Hutch senior, a brother of veteran crime boss Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was gunned down at his home on Poplar Road in Dublin's north inner city in retaliation.

"Unfortunately, the reality is that it's very difficult to prevent every single crime and what we attempt to do is mitigate these crimes as best we can," the Commissioner said about the Hutch killing.

"Sometimes people are determined to carry out a terrible atrocity or a murder such as happened last night (Monday) if they have the intent and will to do it." The Garda Commissioner said gardai were liaising with Spanish police as part of their investigations.

Heavily armed members of the Emergency Response Unit patrolled streets in the north and south inner city all day yesterday.

Gardai were last night searching for a close associate of drug dealer Gary Hutch - murdered last September in Spain by the Kinahan gang - who has allegedly been identified as one of the hitmen who stormed the Regency Hotel. The suspect - in his 20s and from the north inner city - dressed in drag during the audacious attack while the hotel was packed with innocent bystanders.

It has also emerged 'The Monk' is back in Dublin, but keeping an extremely low profile.

The fact that Hutch is back in the capital from his base in Lanzarote has increased tensions in the murderous feud between associates of his nephew Gary and the Christy Kinahan cartel.

Yesterday, it emerged that just hours after Eddie Hutch was murdered, gardai arrested Thompson and his cousin Liam Roe after a short car chase which started in the Crumlin area and ended in Cork Street.

Thompson had his clothes seized by gardai after they observed blood on his tracksuit and shoes.

Belfast Telegraph


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