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Garda Assistant Commissioner ‘confident’ senior Kinahan members ‘will be brought to justice’

Asst Commissioner Kelly said that gardaí are working “hand in hand” with authorities abroad to dismantle the group.

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The head of the gardaí's Drugs and Organised Crime Unit has said that he’s “confident” that senior members of the Kinahan cartel will be “brought to justice” soon.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Justin Kelly said that while 68 members of the Kinahan Organised Group have been convicted so far, gardaí continue to target other senior figures in the gang – including Christy Kinahan, Daniel Kinahan, and Christopher Kinahan Jr, each of whom has had a $5 million bounty placed on their heads by the US government.

Asst Commissioner Kelly said that gardaí are working “hand in hand” with authorities abroad to dismantle the group.

“I’m confident that senior members of that group will be brought to justice. Where that happens, I think it’s too early to say,” he said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today.

“We are working hand in hand with international partners, so we will see where that goes.

“We’ve recently had members of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau with other international colleagues in the UAE. We’ve met colleagues over there from Dubai. For us, those international relations are absolutely essential when you’re targeting a transnational group like the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.

“I think I can say with some confidence that none of the senior members of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group will come voluntarily back to Ireland.

“We have submitted a number of investigation files to the Director of Public Prosecutions and we have some other ones underway in relation to senior members of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.”

Asst Commissioner Kelly added that the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau have convicted almost 70 members of the Kinahan cartel but are also working to target “murder gangs” across Ireland, especially in Dublin.

“We’ve had a significant amount of convictions. We’ve convicted 68 people from the Kinahan Organised Crime Group alone, so we’ll continue to do that.

“Threat to life operations are a huge priority for us... but we’ve seen a decrease in those.

“This year, we’ve only had three of these threat to life operations, which are in essence targeting murder gangs who are highly organised and who are often well financed. Their sole goal is to murder rivals of other gangs.

“At the height of the Hutch Kinahan feud, the numbers of those were around 27. So, we’ve convicted a large amount of people who were involved in these and you can see the impact that this has had because we’ve really affected their ability to mount these types of operations.”

While homicide rates connected to gangland crime were at an all-time low during the pandemic, the recent upsurge in killings is a “cause of concern” for gardaí.

“Any of those murders, for the communities involved and for the families of the deceased, are hugely distressing,” Asst Commissioner Kelly explained.

“But what we’ve seen is a move away from those highly organised gangland murders to more unstructured, localised groups who are operating in those areas.

“A challenge for us is the volatility and uncertainty around some of these groups, the unstructured nature of it.

“We’re absolutely not taking our eye off the ball with any of those emerging groups and we’re running successful operations on a daily basis,” he added.

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