Life has become 'very cheap' Taoiseach tells Dáil


Life has become very cheap indeed, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today in response to two gangland-style shootings in one day.

“I might say that in respect of the brutal murders in front of children, on the streets of this city and in the country, as has been described….this is absolutely brutal treatment by people who have ordered the destruction and assassination and the murder of people in public," he said.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil this afternoon the murders were reprehensible in the Ireland of 2012. He added that the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner would apply themselves with whatever resources were necessary and bring those responsible to justice.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the gardaí will "continue to target and bear down heavily" on those involved in gangland crime.

Mr Shatter said the killings, which he described as "barbaric" illustrate that the perpetrators have no respect for human life.

The murder of Declan O'Reilly on the South Circular Road in Dublin last night came less than 12 hours after Dubliner Gerard Eglington (27) was shot dead at his home in the Kilnacourt Woods estate in Portarlington, Co Laois.

"The callousness of their actions shows that the perpetrators lack even a shred of humanity or decency", Mr Shatter said in a statement. The Minister said gardaí are "absolutely determined" to bring those who are responsible to justice.

“At the same time, I know from my discussions with the Garda Commissioner that the gardaí will continue to target and bear down heavily on the activities of those involved in gangland crime,” he added.

“That is clear from the series of recent operations they have launched against gangs and the many drug seizures that have taken place in recent weeks.” He said he and the Government would continue to support gardaí in their fight against “this evil menace” of society.

Deputy Garda Commissioner Nacie Rice today condemned the recent gangland-style murders and said resources would not be a problem to gardaí as they worked to bring the killers to justice.

Mr Rice said gardaí did not see these as "gangland killings" but treated every murder as an investigation. "It's terrible when it happens and I have to condemn all the killings over the last couple of days, the barbarity, the cruelty, it knows no bounds for some people," he said. "We as an organisation are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice."

He said it was "quite obvious that there's a very, very small number of people who are so ruthless they have no concern for the rule of law, less concern for children or for anyone else around them".

He also appealed for the public's help in bringing the killers to justice. "Let there be no doubt that we have the resources. Each of these killings has been assigned an investigation team of detectives, gardai and specialists and no resources ever have been or ever will be spared in terms of solving these very horrific crimes."

Mr Rice defended the gardai's handling of gangland crime investigations and said the past two weeks were "very very proactive in terms of arrests, searches and bringing people before the courts".

He was speaking at the National Ploughing Championships where An Garda Síochana announced its "Supporting Safer Communities" campaign. He said the campaign encouraged communities to help gardaí in diminishing the opportunities for crime. This included things like making sure they knew who they were opening the door to and keeping their homes secure.

"I don't want to set up a fortress mentality but it's about being proactive and wise and be thinking about to how to reduce the opportunities for crime."

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins called on the justice committee to hold a special meeting with the Garda Commissioner.

He said they must address the recent spate of violent crimes, which also included an aggravated burglary in Sligo in which Eugene Gillespie (67) was murdered.

“There is a widespread fear now that a sinister criminal element in the country no longer fears the rule of law and is prepared to commit the most violent of crimes at any time of the day or night with no regard for the safety of communities,” said Mr Collins.

Last night, Mr O’Reilly (32), Parnell Road, Crumlin, Dublin, was shot in the upper body. His son, who is aged 10, was with him and was walking just ahead of his father when the gunman struck.

Gardaí believe a gunman got out of a nearby car, fired a number of shots from a handgun at the victim and was then driven from the scene. Mr O’Reilly was taken to St James’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A silver BMW believed to have been used by the killers was later found on fire on O’Curry Avenue, a short distance away.

While associated with some of the gang members who have been involved in a feud between rival factions in Crumlin and Drimnagh for more than a decade, gardaí do not believe his murder is feud-related.

The dead man stabbed Derek Glennon (24) to death in Mountjoy Prison in 2007. However, he was acquitted after he said it was self-defence. Gardaí believe his murder last night may have been in revenge for that prison killing.

Mr O’Reilly was shot and wounded in Harolds Cross, Dublin, last September and it was believed at the time that that attack was in revenge for the killing of Glennon. The O’Reilly family had also been targeted in hand-grenade attacks.

In the High Court in February 2011, O’Reilly denied murdering Glennon in a ground floor corridor of Mountjoy in June 2007. The 24-year-old died after being stabbed through the heart, lung, stomach and arm.

The jury viewed CCTV footage of a fight between the two which showed them in a brief struggle, before prison staff arrived on the scene and separated them.

O’Reilly later told gardaí­ that Glennon had been bullying him for months.

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