Detectives prepare to swoop on gangland kingpins
By Barry Duggan and Tom Brady
Thursday July 02 2009
Garda profilers have already started plotting the downfall of the country's most dangerous crime lords as sweeping new gang laws are about to come into effect.
Specially assigned garda profilers in Limerick and Dublin have been gathering intelligence and information on some of the major figures in gangland, the Irish Independent has learned.
Detectives are set to swoop when the new measures come into force in the summer.
Gardai are putting together an extensive profile on the crime bosses and their networks while Justice Minister Dermot Ahern attempts to successfully navigate the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill through the Oireachtas.
In recent weeks, intelligence-led operations, focusing on the McCarthy-Dundon gang in Limerick and their criminal counterparts in Dublin, have intensified.
Profilers in Dublin are focusing in particular on the key players in the gangs involved in the deadly feuds and drug wars that have accounted for a significant portion of the murders over the past few years.
The Irish Independent understands that the profilers have been specifically tasked in recent weeks to piece together all known criminal connections and intelligence to the targets of their investigations.
All of those being targeted have been arrested and questioned in the past about specific crimes, but gardai have been unable to gather sufficient evidence to allow the DPP to bring criminal charges against them.
But the proposed legislation, which is due to pass through the Oireachtas by the end of next week and enacted by the final week of July, will allow the gardai to move against them under tough anti-gangland measures.
Officers are now concentrating on building up enough evidence on the suspects' participation in organised crime gangs to convince the DPP to bring charges under the new legislation.
Many of the gang leaders have regarded themselves as untouchable because they have been using what Mr Ahern described as "patsies" to carry out the crimes while they direct activities from a safe distance.
But the new measures will allow the authorities to close the net on the key figures by charging them with directing a criminal gang, which carries a jail sentence of up to life imprisonment, or participating in a gang, which could result in associates of the leaders being put behind bars for up to 15 years.
Mr Ahern is expected to spell out the reasons for the legislation in detail during a Dail debate tomorrow. The legislation is being supported by Fine Gael, but opposed by Labour and Sinn Fein.
- Barry Duggan and Tom Brady