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15 criminal gangs being targeted by gardaí

The Garda Commissioner has said the gardaí are targeting up to 15 criminal gangs all over the country as part of a nationwide investigation into gang-related crime, RTE reports.

Fachtna Murphy said files on 12 of the gangs are with the Director of Public Prosecutions and charges have been preferred in two cases.

He was speaking at the graduation ceremony of 263 men and women in Templemore today.

The Commissioner also said he was very concerned about the recent upsurge in gang-related violence and murders.

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Murphy said that these were being carried out by a small core of ruthless killers, who are still intent on eliminating rivals for reasons connected to the drugs trade, revenge or other small motives.

He said officers from the armed Emergency Response Unit were now patrolling parts of Finglas and north Dublin where these shooting had occurred, intelligence was being gathered and covert surveillance had been increased.

He also reaffirmed the gardaí's commitment to protect witnesses who were prepared to come forward and give evidence in court.

The Commissioner accepted that protecting these people was a major drain on resources but he said the gardaí would do whatever it takes to protect them.

Fachtna Murphy also said he did not have a policy of maintaining the garda fleet by hiring cars.

He said cars and lorries were hired for specific purposes from time-to-time but there were over 2,800 vehicles in the garda fleet.

The Commissioner said that there was currently a tender process under way and he expected to be buying new cars for the garda fleet by the end of the year.