Commissioner acknowledges increase in gangland activity

Noirín O’Sullivan says gardaí cannot be everywhere all the time

There has been an increase in gangland activity of late, especially fatal shootings, but the number of people being murdered is still someway off the levels seen in recent years, Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan has said.

Speaking ahead of the funeral on Tuesday of Dublin's latest gun victim Vincent Ryan (25), Commissioner O'Sullivan said there were 22 gang murders in 2009 and three last year.

“Unfortunately this year we have seen a resurgence in that activity. But whether it is gangland or not, one murder is one too many,”she said.

“But the reality is that no matter how many gardaí we have, we cannot have gardaí everywhere all the time.”


Criminal gangs were determined in their intent but the force would tackle them and disrupt their activities, she said.

Commissioner O'Sullivan added that the Garda had reorganised its units tackling organised crime and there had been over 100 key arrests last year by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, which had also seized illicit drugs valued at over €24 million.

Addressing the media at a passing out ceremony for 99 new Garda members at the Garda College, Templemore, Co Tipperary, she said organised crime and paramilitary activity remained a high priority for the Garda.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said while there had been a car bomb attack by dissident republicans in Belfast last week that injured a prison officer, there was no specific intelligence to suggest therewas a heightened risk of attacks during the 1916 commemorations in theRepublic.

However, the Garda would remain vigilant; as they would at the funeral in Donaghmede, Dublin, on Tuesday for republican Ryan, who was shot dead in Finglas last Monday.

Ms Fitzgerald noted Commissioner O’Sullivan and her senior team had been in contact with the Ryan family about the funeralarrangements, adding the family had issued a statement saying it did not want revenge.

When Vincent Ryan's brother, the Real IRA key figure Alan Ryan, was murdered in September 2012 men and women dressed in paramilitary uniforms were present at his funeral and shots were fired over his coffin in a display of paramilitary strength in Dublin that shocked many.

Separately, Ms Fitzgerald extended her "deepest sympathy"to Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman's wife Judge Yvonne Murphy and their sons following his death.

“He was a fearless defender of the constitution and a man of extraordinary intellectual ability and he will be very, very much missed by so many people in the justice family,” she said.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times