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net closing in Garda Assistant Commissioner says 'significant disruption' caused to the Kinahan crime cartel

'When you seize money and drugs it introduces huge uncertainty in an organised crime group,' Garda AC John O'Driscoll has said.

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Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

The Garda’s top anti-gangland officer has said he believes there has been “significant disruption” caused to the Kinahan crime cartel through a series of convictions. 

Assistant Commissioner (AC) of Serious and Organised Crime, John O’Driscoll, said that the gardai are “clearly on the right road to achieving our aim which is to totally dismantle” the cartel.

“One step in dismantling is disruption and, definitely, there is significant disruption,” he said in a new interview with The Irish Examiner.

“When you seize money and drugs it introduces huge uncertainty in an organised crime group. There has to be internal inquiries as to how are we being so successful?

"There’s uncertainty who they are dealing with and they cannot be sure where we are going to come from next.”

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John O’Driscoll, Assistant Commissioner in charge of the OSC

John O’Driscoll, Assistant Commissioner in charge of the OSC

John O’Driscoll, Assistant Commissioner in charge of the OSC

He added: “We’re clearly on the right road to achieving our aim which is to totally dismantle."

However, he added: “You have a number of problems doing that," explaining that despite the success gardai have, the organised crime group can grow bigger.

"You also have the problem that those you have taken out go back into the fold and we are very conscious it's great getting five years plus, and it deals with a problem at a given time, but in January 2019, if someone got five years, they are due out,” he said.

He also said other existing feuds in Drogheda, Coolock or Blanchardstown “need constant monitoring” as they flare up again or new feuds erupt.

“It needs constant monitoring,” he said. “You saw in Limerick, the resources gardaí put into that, you had the ERU policing the streets.

“And the exercise the other week in Limerick, which was supported nationally, you are constantly watching Limerick to ensure it doesn’t return to where it was in the past.

"You saw in Drogheda there was a significant presence while that was on the boil, a lot of resources were put in, but you can’t afford to keep them there.”

Last month, Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch was arrested as he sat down in a restaurant in the Malaga area of Spain following a lengthy surveillance operation by Spanish police.

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Gerry "The Monk" Hutch

Gerry "The Monk" Hutch

Gerry "The Monk" Hutch

“After the Regency (hotel shooting) we knew this was going to take time and that has proven to be the case,” said AC O’Driscoll. “Here we are five years later we are now charging people.”

He said he had taken a number of years to gather information and to send the file to the DPP.

The police chief said: “The files are so extensive, it takes the DPP some considerable time, and then they go to Special Criminal Court.

"If Gerry Hutch came home today on an extradition warrant, I suspect he wouldn’t get a trial for two years, maybe less.

“We are still putting together cases, and convictions only started in earnest a few years later.

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Spanish police swoop on Gerry Hutch in a Spanish restaurant last month

Spanish police swoop on Gerry Hutch in a Spanish restaurant last month

Spanish police swoop on Gerry Hutch in a Spanish restaurant last month

“Gerry Hutch is arrested, he’s subject of an extradition warrant - that is only because we have intent to lay a criminal charge. He may well prove to be an innocent person at the end of that process, it’s not to suggest he is guilty of what we may allege.

“I exercise considerable caution talking about a mere arrest," he said. "It is only a charge. We are accusing him, but he may be found innocent.”

Asked about the wider impact of the arrest on the leaders of the Kinahan cartel, including Daniel Kinahan, holed up in Dubai, AC O’Driscoll said: “I can’t talk about any specific investigation.

"Unfortunately, until such time as we are in a position to declare, to talk about where we are in relation to particular individuals, I cannot say anything.

“There may well be other people that we are pursuing before the courts, but we cannot go there – other than to say ‘yes if they are members of those organised crime groups you can take it, we are targeting them’. We are continuously gathering evidence to take out further people.”

But he added: “All these arrests have an impact,” in reference to the Kinahan mob. “The allegation [against Hutch] relates to the Regency. It’s a whole different ball game to prove, as may be suggested, [someone is] at the helm of an organised crime group (OCG)."

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