Labour calls for archbishop to mediate between ‘mafia-type gangsters’

Diarmuid Martin rules out intervention in ‘turf wars’ between criminal groups

The Labour Party has said Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin should be brought in to act as a mediator between “mafia-type gangsters” following the latest shooting in the capital.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton described Eddie Hutch snr, who was killed on Monday night, as a “soft target in a wider family”.

He was the victim of a feud between a gang loyal to murdered criminal Gary Hutch and one led by international drugs trafficker Christy Kinahan.

However, Dr Martin told The Irish Times he does not believe he should become involved in mediation between criminals.


“These are turf wars about pumping drugs into our children,” he said.

“The danger of negotiating with them is to give them status. They are criminals. The only thing to be negotiated is when they put down their weapons,” he said

Dr Martin said people should co-operate with the gardaí, including those who might be seeking protection, as the Minister for Justice has said.

“I will not run a parallel show. They should put down their guns.”

He appealed to “those mothers who are scared stiff their sons may not get home in the evening” to intervene and bring an end to the killing.

Out of hand

Labour candidate Joe Costello, speaking at a party event in the Dublin Central constituency on Tuesday, said the situation in the area was in danger of getting out of hand and also called for a “mediation” approach.

“I would be very strongly in favour of a person who is very well respected in the community and that is the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin...that he would come forward as a mediator,” Mr Costello said.

Mr Costello said otherwise “tit-for-tat” retaliation could escalate further and a very large number of innocent victims would be the result.

“The person who was shot last night is a person who is not associated with gangland activity at all as far as I know, and I know the person pretty well.

“He’s a family man, goes about his daily business. But he’s a soft target and this may well be what could happen very easily.”

Sinn Féin’s proposal to abolish the Special Criminal Court was described as “totally out of kilter” and “almost a non-recognition of the extent of gangland activity, drug activity in the area”, Mr Costello said.

“We have a very substantial mafia-type set of organisations which are very well armed, very well resourced...we have very substantial mafia-type gangers here,” Mr Costello said.


He said local people in Ballybough were already “terrified” by what had happened and could not be expected to go forward as jurors “with the level of intimidation that would surely take place”.

The Special Criminal Court was therefore essential at this time, he said.

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald is also a candidate in the Dublin Central constituency.

Ms Burton said the fatal shooting on Monday night was a “tit-for-tat killing of what seems to have been a kind of soft target in a wider family”.

She said the “appalling” killing had happened less than a mile away from the Labour event at the Cluid Housing offices on Amiens Street.

“At the end of the day whether people may have associations they are somebody’s brother, son, somebody’s husband, somebody’s father,” Ms Burton said.

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash said people on the doorsteps in his Louth constituency were describing Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’ call for the Special Criminal Court to be abolished as “bizarre” and “peculiar” at this time.

“There’s a fundamental difference between Gerry Adams and Ged Nash. Ged Nash wants to abolish the USC for people who are earning under €72,000 and Gerry Adams wants to abolish the Special Criminal Court,” Mr Nash said.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Features Editor of The Irish Times