Garda chief pledges to catch killers


GARDA COMMISSIONER Fachtna Murphy has said he will use everything within his power to bring the "small core of ruthless killers" living in Limerick city to justice.

Urging the local community to help gardaí with the investigation into the murder of Shane Geoghegan, Mr Murphy assured the public that the witness protection programme would be considered, if necessary.

"If it's necessary and if it's important we will use the witness security programme. We will use any means within our power and within the rule of law to bring the forces of the State all to bear in dealing with this criminality," he said yesterday.

"There is a small core of ruthless killers living in the city that have to be brought to justice."

Mr Murphy was in Limerick, where 50 gardaí, including members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, are investigating the murder.

Mr Murphy said the investigation was in its early stages and insisted that the inquiry was "not without hope".

He added that some 40 people aligned to the core organised criminal gang in Limerick were currently in custody as a result of local policing. He added that firearms offences in the city had dropped over the past 12 months.

"There is a small number of people in this city, as well as other hotspots that I have to police as well throughout the country, places like Finglas and some other places where these deaths are occurring, and we will take on those criminals and have taken them on," he continued.

The Garda Commissioner travelled to Limerick yesterday following a meeting in Dublin with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.

Mr Murphy expressed his sympathy to the Geoghegan family and said 80 extra gardaí had been deployed to Limerick in the past 18 months.

During his visit to Roxboro Garda station, the commissioner met Regional Assistant Commissioner Kevin Ludlow and Supt Frank O'Brien, who is leading the murder inquiry.

When asked if gardaí had sufficient powers to deal with the criminal situation, Mr Murphy replied: "There has been a whole plethora of legislation enacted in the last three years and I am confident - and in my briefing with the Taoiseach this morning I discussed that part of it - and I am happy that there is sufficient legislation in place.

"The issue for us is to get the evidence. We have the tools, we have the specialist units, but these crimes are not easy to solve and there is a small core of ruthless killers living in this city that have to be brought to justice."