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Leading members of the Kinahan crime organisation are more likely to be taken down by international policing authorities than face justice in Dublin, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris stated.

Mr Harris said the granting of permission by the High Court this week to seize a multimillion Euro mansion from the Kinanahan crime gang has provided Garda officers with a boost.

Mr Harris said it would be “fair enough” if major Kinahan figures were brought to book by international policing authorities as opposed to An Garda Síochána.

“I think it’s more likely that international law enforcement will bring them to book,” he said.  

“And that’s fair enough, that somebody brings them to book somewhere.

“Whenever you engage with people internationally, you just have to set aside any sort of selfish regard, it doesn’t really matter. All things balance out and you’ll get your own success in time.”

He said he and his officers have to think “what’s our best percentage chance” of bringing down the Kinahans.

“The best percentages are probably with international law enforcement. It’s probably in respect of flows of cash, the illicit movement of money, illicit business transactions, and drug trafficking,” he said.

Mr Harris praised his colleagues for their hard work during the Covid 19 pandemic.

He highlighted real dangers for the reputation of policing during the pandemic when gardaí were tasked with enforcing restrictions on people’s movements and behaviour.

“There’s the risk of loss of public confidence,” he said. “Obviously, there was a real risk around being seen to apply a very austere and very rigid, rigorous law enforcement process and it really constrained people’s human rights,” he said.

Covid-19 forced more crime online and led to a dramatic surge in domestic violence. 

He warned that while gardaí have never had more vehicles and a mandate to increase its numbers to 15,000 next year — from 14,300 now — such increases are not sufficient to meet the needs of the public.

“There is difficulty just getting the recruitment momentum going again,” he conceded.

(Irish Examiner)