Frequency of killings in Hutch-Kinahan feud ‘surprised’ gardaí
Fourteen murders are suspected to be linked to the feud in under two and a half years
Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy speaks to the media at the Department of Justice following the conviction of Eamon Cumberton for the murder of Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
The frequency of the killings in the Kinahan-Hutch feud since the violence began in late 2015 has “surprised” gardaí, Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy has said.
Fourteen people have been killed in attacks linked to the feud in less than 2½ years, including nine over a seven-month period in 2016.
“We have seen the level of violence many times, over many years. It was the frequency of events that really caught everybody; communities, the guards, and everybody was a little bit surprised, ” said Mr Leahy, who is in charge of policing in the Dublin region.
He was speaking after Eamonn Cumberton, of Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7, was jailed for life by the non-jury Special Criminal Court for the murder of Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub in Dublin. It is the first successful conviction over a murder linked to the feud.
Mr Leahy said there was “no satisfaction” in the news for the gardaí and that the verdict was “the end of a professional process, part of a process that is going to go on and on”.
“We have a lot of live investigations ongoing at the moment in relation to several incidents that have taken place across the city, we expect to be before the courts again in the very near future,” Mr Leahy said.
He added that individuals set to be charged for crimes relating to the feud were “not mere foot soldiers” in the organisations and several were “key players”.
The Kinahan’s crime syndicate was “possibly global” in terms of the reach and extent of their overall operation, which posed an additional challenge to gardaí, Mr Leahy added.
“There has always been an international dimension to certain types of crime; I suppose in this particular context it is really international.”
Mr Leahy said gardaí would not shy away from bringing the men at the centre of the crime gang to justice. “We expect over the long haul that will happen . . . we will dismantle this organisation.”
He said there had been a “considerable realignment” of resources put towards tackling the feud, and the operation was working on a local, national and international level.
However, while specialised crime units have been deployed in operations targeting the criminal gangs, the number of gardaí stationed in Store Street Garda station, which serves the north inner city, is still well below pre-recession levels.
Between 2010 and the outbreak of the feud in late 2015, the number of gardaí working in Store Street declined from 303 to 246. Since then, the number of gardaí in the station has increased to 253, according to the latest figures from the Department of Justice, obtained through a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin president-elect Mary Lou McDonald.