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Garda chief disputes TD's dissident gun-for-hire claims

The Garda Commissioner said weaponry recovered by her force this year has included high-powered firearms such as AK-47 assault rifles

DISSIDENT republicans are hiring out their guns to anyone who wants to carry out a murder for as little as €200 a go, a parliamentary watchdog has heard.

Independent TD Noel Grealish said he was also aware of anti-peace process factions based in Dublin renting out powerful Uzi sub-machine guns, complete with ammunition, for €500 a time.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said she was aware of the availability of deadly weapons but "not to that extent".

Before the Oireachtas justice committee, Mr Grealish quizzed the Garda chief about what he branded a gun-for-hire culture in the capital.

"I'm aware and I've been told that in the streets of Dublin you can hire a gun for €200, or you can hire an Uzi machine gun for €500, with a magazine of bullets, from, I've been told, dissident republicans," the Galway West TD said.

"There is a gun-for-hire culture now within the city.

"If you want to go and shoot somebody, there's someone there to hire a gun to you, to carry out a murder, technically – what else would you do with a gun."

But Ms O'Sullivan said she was "not aware" of the alleged dissident republican gun hire enterprise.

"I'm certainly aware of the availability of firearms but not to that extent," she said.

The Garda chief said her force carefully monitored the availability of illegal firearms throughout the state.

More than 500 guns have been seized already this year.

The weaponry recovered has included high-powered firearms such as AK-47 assault rifles and sub-machine guns.

Drugs with an estimated street value of €40 million have also been recovered so far this year.

"Thankfully there has been significant reduction in gangland activity – we remain focused on it but I'm not aware of what the deputy (Grealish) said," the Garda Commissioner said.

Ms O'Sullivan also said she was satisfied with the resources available to her to monitor and tackle organised crime, including a nexus between dissident republicans and gangland figures.

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