Garda revamp shuts Guerin case HQ

 

THE Garda investigation head quarters in the Veronica Guerin case is being closed because of changes in police division boundaries introduced by the outgoing Government in the run up to the general election, it has emerged.

There has been a decline in activity surrounding the case as it approaches the first anniversary of Ms Guerin's death on June 26th. Three of the main suspects are still living abroad. The gang leader suspected of ordering Ms Guerin's murder is in custody abroad.

Several officers have moved from the investigation in the past six months. The number of detectives working full time on the case has fallen from about 3010 15.

However, senior gardai insist the closure of the investigation incident rooms at Lucan Garda station does not represent a reduction in the scale of the investigation.

The offices are being taken over for use as a divisional headquarters for the new Dublin West Garda division, an initiative announced unexpectedly by the Coalition as the election approached.

Another Garda divisional headquarters was simultaneously announced for Tallaght, in keeping with promises by Coalition politicians.

But the announcements were made before any dedicated accommodation was available for the two new divisional headquarters. As a direct result, the Lucan investigation headquarters rooms are being cleared to make, way for the new Dublin West divisional headquarters.

It is understood the Guerin investigation, which has amassed massive files on the gang involved, will be accommodated at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park.

However, there is a feeling among detectives that the move bay result in a further reduction in Garda activity in what has probably been the most successful single investigation into organised crime in the State's history.

Since it began, the investigation has led to the seizure of £391,987 in cash during searches in Dublin and £330,000 as a result of an other search and arrest operation by British police acting on information from the Lucan detectives. A total of 110 firearms, from handguns to automatic assault weapons, have been seized.

A total of 181 people were arrested and 364 premises searched. Vehicles seized included 16 cars, a speedboat, a mechanical digger and two motorcycles. Fifty five kilos of cannabis and smaller amounts of other drugs were found. A video piracy operation: with £400,000 worth of equipment was uncovered and seized. A car ringing operation involving the theft and dismantling of 300 cars was uncovered. Tens of thousands of pounds worth of surveillance and scanning equipment was found.