NewsCrime Desk

Garda commissioner defends lack of organised crime unit at scene of murder weigh-in

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan

Under pressure Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has defended her organised crime units having no intelligence that the Regency Hotel boxing weigh-in would be targeted by a gangland hit squad.

O'Sullivan was quizzed today about why there was no security presence at the Dublin hotel last Friday when David Byrne (33) was shot dead.

"Last Friday evening was a public sporting event and you cannot have members of An Garda Siochana going to every single event just because criminals may be there," the Commissioner said.

Byrne's murder - a suspected retaliation for the shooting dead of Gary Hutch in the Costa del Sol last September by individuals associated with the Kinahan crime cartel - is suspected of being avenged on Monday night with the murder of Hutch's uncle Eddie, a brother of Gerry Hutch, The Monk.

The Commissioner said "hindsight is often good" and added: "People will go to specific events, some of the people who attend public events are criminals.

"We cannot be at every place [where] criminals are attending public events so we prioritise deployment of resources based on threat and intelligence.

"If we had anything of those of indications we would have had people there with the appropriate response."

The very obvious ramping up of security can already be seen in a number of locations including around Seville Place in Dublin's north inner city, less than a mile from where Eddie Hutch was murdered.

Four heavily armed officers (two of whom are pictured above) from the Garda's Emergency Response Unit, kitted out with protective eye wear, balaclavas, body armour and headgear, were backed up by at least 12 uniformed officers and plain clothed armed detectives to check identities and movements of passing motorists and cyclists.

There are fears more death threats are circulating in the gangland feud but the Commissioner refused to discuss those.

But she said conflicting statements both purporting to come from the dissident republican faction Continuity IRA - one to the BBC in Belfast claiming responsibility for the Regency attack and another dismissing that claim - are still being investigated.

The Commissioner said: "We are looking at crime and terrorism, we can rule nothing out at this stage."

- Press Association