Republic of Ireland news

Brother of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin calls for the return of internment to tackle drug gangs

 Jimmy Guerin, a local councillor in Dublin and brother of murdered Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin.
Aoife Moore, PA

The brother of a murdered journalist has called for the return of internment to deal with an ongoing drugs feud in Ireland.

Jimmy Guerin, a local councillor in Dublin and brother of murdered Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, said politicians must change the law to tackle the crimewave.

The country has been left shocked by the murder this month of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods.

The Drogheda teenager's body was dismembered and left in various locations in Dublin, and his murder was linked to a feud between two criminal gangs.

Mr Guerin, whose sister was shot in her car in 1996 after her investigative work exposed members of Irish criminal gangs, called for the return of internment, the controversial policy of detention without trial of suspected republicans during the Troubles.

"I will be far happier if a superintendent went to these houses, of people they know to be involved, and these people are arrested and interned, and at that stage then let's bring the cases against them and let's jail them for their crimes," he said on LMFM Radio on Wednesday.

"It's the legislators who make the law that we have to live by, the legislators can bring in the necessary legislation.

"We did it in the 70s, we did have a battle against the Provisional IRA, and we interned people. Let's do it now because of the drugs, and the cancer that it is in our society is just as big a threat to the security of the state as the Provos were."

Mr Guerin said he knows the idea seems dramatic but the recent murders represent a turning point for the country.

"I would have locked them up," he said. "I mean, that sounds very dramatic yet, in reality, yes, I would do that today.

"If the superintendent and Garda intelligence are satisfied that these people are terrorising people and involved in illegal activity, then I would make it a priority that those who are locked up and interned are brought before the courts as speedily as possible to face the charges that are against them, and I make no apology for saying that.

"We need measures to be put in place immediately to protect the majority, not to worry about the civil rights and civil liberties of the few drug dealers going around terrorising people.

"If politicians had the courage, they would put that type of legislation in place."

Noting similarities to the murder of his sister, Mr Guerin said media attention will eventually fall away from the feud and nothing substantial will have changed.

"I've always said that, you know, that it (Veronica's death) was in vain and we failed to actively take advantage of our huge opportunity when there was public support and an outcry for action to be taken," Mr Guerin added.

"In reality, what happened is that CAB (the Criminal Assets Bureau) was formulated, but for about 12 months, the resources were made available to the guards just to tackle the crime gang that were responsible for Veronica's murder, and it did have an effect and we saw drug criminals going overseas and they were afraid of what was happening.

"And then, like everything else and what's going to happen in these recent tragedies and barbaric murders, as soon as it comes off the media attention, well then the resources are no longer made available and the overtime is not paid.

"I find it very sad, I have always said, every life is sacred.

"We could take action. We had six people murdered in seven months who had received warnings from the Garda that their lives was in danger, and they were also known to be involved in criminal activity, in the drugs, and had we interned these people they would be alive today - these crimes, these murders, would not have occurred."

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