Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has outlined the party’s proposals to target gangland crime and organised criminals who operate with impunity.

Deputy Collins was speaking in the wake of this week’s murder at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, outside the nearby Whitehall Garda Station, closed under the Alan Shatter plan in 2013.

He commented, “The murder in the Regency Hotel shocked the entire nation and brought home in a very direct and shocking way the threat posed by these gangsters. Recognising this, Fianna Fáil is proposing to expand the use of the Special Criminal Court to tackle organised and gangland crime in Dublin.  The court has been used to good effect in the past in Limerick in this regard.

“I regard these crimes to be a serious threat to the security of the state and I believe the nature in which these criminals have operated and their complete disregard for the public requires a tougher response from Government.  I do not believe these gangs would hesitate in targeting potential jurors or witnesses and the powers and protection of the Special Criminal Court are now necessary to rid our society of what amounts to criminal terrorism.

“As well as employing the Special Criminal Court, Fianna Fáil will set up a new Serious and Organised Crime Unit within An Garda Síochána to lead the fight against criminal networks operating in the country.  The Unit’s remit will include co-operation with Interpol and other police agencies.

“A strong Garda force, built up to 15,000 under Fianna Fáil will have a much greater presence but we recognise that it’s not just about increasing manpower and visibility; it is also about expanding intelligence gathering assets as well.  Fianna Fáil will invest in the human capital and the physical infrastructure of the force to ensure it is fit for purpose.  The advanced organisational capacities of tightly organised and highly mobile gangs and their sheer brutality demands a co-ordinated, concentrated approach by An Garda Síochána and Fianna Fáil will ensure it has the power, finance and political back-up to deliver.”