Kinahan-Hutch feud clampdown 'helping cut homicide rate'
Resources on combating organised crime generate unprecedented intelligence - Garda
The homicide rate over the last three years, including gun murders, was the lowest for any three-year period since the Central Statistics Office began compiling figures in 2003. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times
Garda officers believe the clampdown on the Kinahan-Hutch feud is now beginning to contribute to the falling homicide rate across the Republic.
Senior officers also believe the resources that are being invested into combating organised crime have generated unprecedented intelligence about criminal activity.
While 15 people have been killed in the Kinahan-Hutch feud since September 2015, the number of major gangland figures jailed because of the violence is rising.
Gardaí say several criminals who had either planned or carried out multiple killings over a decade, on behalf of different criminal gangs, were now off the streets. And their imprisonment was starting to drive the State’s homicide rate lower.
“The group of people who plan these fatal shootings and those who carry them out; that is a relatively small group in the Irish context,” said a senior Garda source.
“Over the last two years we’ve repeatedly intervened and caught people with loaded guns and brought charges against people.
Last year there were 71 homicides, less than half the peak of 152 in 2007. And the number of murders was 42, down from a peak of 72 in 2007
“And every time we do that, that pool of people involved in these very serious gun crimes is getting smaller.
“And we do really feel the drop in the homicide rate generally [in the State] is at least partly linked to that.”
In the 1990s and the 2000s several major gangland feuds and a number of minor ones were unfolding. The number of people being shot dead annually exceeded 20 during several years and went as high as 24 in 2006.
However, those figures have halved since the onset of recession. The drugs trade went into decline because of the collapse in demand for recreational drugs. The gun crime that accompanies the drugs trade also reduced significantly.
Last year, despite the Kinahan-Hutch feud, there were seven gangland murders – the lowest level for many years.
The homicide rate over the last three years, including gun murders, was the lowest for any three-year period since the Central Statistics Office began compiling figures in 2003.
Last year there were 71 homicides, less than half the peak of 152 in 2007. And the number of murders was 42, down from a peak of 72 in 2007.
Gardaí believe the drop in gun murders has occurred because criminals who have been involved in several gun feuds are now in jail.
“We feel there is an excellent chance now, with the intelligence we have now, that some of these people who have been involved in a very high number of murders will be finally dealt with,” said one source.
Another officer said when leading figures directing the Limerick feud and Crumlin-Drimnagh feud had been jailed, the violence in those feuds stopped.
While the Kinahan cartel was on a much bigger scale than other gangs in the Republic, it was being damaged by two years of targeted Garda operations.