Having said that resources or the lack of them were not a factor in gangland killings, the Minister for Justice has suddenly found €5 million for a task force on the issue.

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins has said: “This is characteristic of a weak Justice Minister who is always behind the curve on crime.

“Three weeks ago she said that it wasn’t feasible to increase the garda numbers to 15,000.  Now Fine Gael are pledged to increase numbers to 14,800.

“After 18 months of indifference and inaction she finally brought in belated but inadequate measures to tackle the burglary epidemic.

“The fact is that on crime Fine Gael talks tough, acts soft, and is always playing catch-up.

“If Fine Gael believes it can stand over its record on policing and security over the last five years I invite the Minister to participate in a full debate on this important policy area during this election campaign.”