Crime gangs unite to resist Real IRA demands for money
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has warned gangland criminals and dissidents against expecting Garda protection
THE APPEARANCE of a paramilitary colour guard and the firing of shots over the coffin at the funeral of Alan Ryan in Donaghmede, north Dublin, last month was most people’s first indication that the Real IRA had grown in confidence in the capital.
But the reality is that their presence has been gradually more visible for a number of years.
While Garda sources insist their numbers remain small in the Republic, their daring fundraising efforts may yet lead to a period of serious bloodletting.
The Real IRA is feuding on a number of fronts with some of the largest and most dangerous organised crime gangs in the city. The feuding arises from efforts by the organisation to extort money from the gangs.
Yesterday in the Dáil, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter acknowledged the recent rise in gun killings and said those responsible were being pursued.
Gardaí are duty-bound to inform criminals when intelligence is received suggesting their lives are at risk. However, Shatter said yesterday that those engaged in gun violence cannot expect the State’s protection when they are on the receiving end of threats themselves.
“It is . . . unrealistic to expect that the [Garda] Commissioner would devote his entire resources to individually protecting people who are routinely trying to avoid the gardaí so that they can continue to engage in criminal activity,” he said.
“Such an approach could only come at the expense of ordinary Garda activity to protect the community generally.”
If the force was of a mind to offer such protection, they would be hard pressed to cover all flashpoints now emerging around the Real IRA’s Dublin activities.
A coalition of crime gangs has formed to resist the Real IRA’s extortion demands. The dissident group is also feuding separately with a number of individual gangs from whom they are also trying to extort money.
The growing confidence of the dissidents in Dublin is captured best by their willingness to demand money from the gang based in Finglas that was formerly led by murdered criminals Eamon Dunne and Marlo Hyland.
Since the beginning of the last decade the gang has killed more people than any other in the history of organised crime in the Republic, including Limerick’s McCarthy-Dundon faction.
This record has done nothing to deter the Real IRA from taking them on. In the past three years, the Real IRA has shot dead three men and wounded another in attacks linked to their extortion demands. In return, criminals being targeted have shot dead three men who were either in the Real IRA or associated with it.
While the feud has been simmering for three years, it has been brought to the boil with the killing last month of Real IRA key member Alan Ryan. “They have to be seen to hit back and hit back hard or they will be seen as weak and under pressure,” one Garda senior source said of the Real IRA.