Recent spate of violence belies fall in crime since recession began
ANALYSIS:THE PERIOD since last Friday has been a bloody one in the Republic, with violent crime firmly pushing the financial news from the headlines.
Dublin criminals Declan O’Reilly and Gerard Eglington were shot dead in attacks in Dublin and Laois respectively on Monday.
Patsy Deasy (57) died at Cork University Hospital on Monday after failing to recover from injuries sustained in an incident outside a pub in Mahon, Cork, in the early hours of Saturday.
Eugene Gillespie (67) died in hospital on Saturday from injuries he had sustained after being beaten and tied up at his home in Sligo town, where he was found by his brother and nephew on Friday.
Last Friday night Anna Finnegan (26) was fatally attacked at her home in Ongar, west Dublin.
Full-scale murder investigations have been launched in all of the cases and a man has already been charged in relation to Ms Finnegan’s death.
O’Reilly appears to have been gunned down in a historical dispute going back to 2007 when he stabbed another man to death in Mountjoy Prison but later successfully pleaded self-defence. Efforts had been made last year to kill him for the same reason.
It seems Eglington was also killed over a historical issue, after breaking the leg of a man and slashing the face of a woman when rival gang members of their associates ran into each other in a Dublin pub early last year.
Patsy Deasy’s death appears to have resulted from a spur of the moment row in which he had intervened, while Eugene Gillespie’s killing has all the hallmarks of a cruel and vicious robbery gone wrong.
It will be no comfort to the families of the dead, but none of the attacks appears linked.
And while O’Reilly’s and Eglington’s murders could both be described as gangland attacks, there is no shared motive in the two cases. And none of the homicides since the weekend is linked in any way apart from the horrible coincidence that they all unfolded within a matter of days.
Since the recession began in 2007-2008, all crime types in the Republic – aside from burglary – have shown sustained and significant falls every time the CSO’s quarterly and annual official figures have been released.
The shooting dead of two men on the same day will spark fears of an increase in gangland crime, following a lull. And the killing of Eglington may lead to direct reprisal attacks, though all of the key players in his gang in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud are either dead or, for now, in prison.
Eugene Gillespie’s death will undoubtedly increase the fear of attacks on older people, especially at a time when rural Garda stations are closing.
Patsy Deasy’s death is a warning about the dangers of disputes when those involved have been drinking.
It will be early next year, when the crime statistics for this period emerge, before we can say if the violence of the past few days has been a blip in the continued fall in violent crime, or if the fall in the crime figures has bottomed out.