Gardaí had ‘no intelligence’ suggesting attack would take place at hotel

‘You cannot have gardaí going to every single event just because criminals may be there’

 Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan arriving at the Department of Justice for a meeting Tuesday with Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan arriving at the Department of Justice for a meeting Tuesday with Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Gardaí had “no specific intelligence” indicating there would be an attack at the Regency Hotel last Friday where David Byrne was shot dead, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has said.

Speaking at a press conference at Garda Headquarters, Ms O’Sullivan defended the force’s decision not to deploy officers at the boxing event weigh-in when it was known in advance a number of the Kinahan gang would be present.

“I think it’s very important to say at the outset there was no specific intelligence indicating any threat last Friday at the Regency Hotel,” she said.

“The gardaí are deployed based on intelligence and risk assessment.

“We have to be very careful how we deploy members of the Garda. If there is no threat we cannot have members of the force there. You cannot have members of the Garda going to every single event just because criminals may be there.”

Ms O’Sullivan declined to name individuals the force is pursuing as part of its investigation, but said detectives were liaising with police in Spain, as well as law enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions.

“We have extensive and very good working relationships with colleagues and foreign police and law enforcement agencies, and they are assisting in these investigations,” she said.

“We’ve had contact with a number of them specifically in relation to this over the past few days and we’ll have further contact for the remainder of the week.

“We have liaison officers based abroad. They are actively involved in following strands of this investigation and that will continue. We have ongoing contact with the Spanish police and some other law enforcement agencies as well.”

Eddie Hutch, who was in his 50s, was shot dead by gunmen in his home in north Dublin on Monday.

He is the latest victim of a feud between a gang loyal to murdered criminal Gary Hutch and one led by international drugs trafficker Christy Kinahan, who is based in Marbella in southern Spain.

Last Friday, a six-strong gang, three armed with AK47s and two with handguns, attacked members of the Kinahan gang in the Regency Hotel, and shot dead associate David Byrne (32).

Ms O’Sullivan met with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on Tuesday morning when it was agreed an extra €5 million would be allocated to the Garda to deal with the current crisis.

“We outlined to her our requirements and the number of people we need in terms of having the capacity and the capability we need to respond to current and emerging threats,” she said.

“There’s no doubt over the last number of years we have seen significant reductions in both human resources and financial resources. In the last two years we’ve worked very hard to address that but we can’t do it overnight.

“I’m very satisfied that we can rebuild that capacity and capability. The reality is we cannot do it overnight. It is going to take time.

“We are working very closely with the Department of Justice and Department of Public Expenditure to ensure we secure the funding and the resources that are required to build that capability.”

Ms O’Sullivan added there had been “significant progress” in recent days in terms of the investigations and there had been a “cross-organisational response” from the Garda which will continue in the coming days.

“Over the weekend you will have seen a number of dedicated armed patrols right throughout the city,” she said.

“They will continue into the coming days and they will be very focused and intelligence-led. All of the resources of this organisation will be brought to bear on this.”