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‘We’re living in Ireland, not Mexico’

A Garda car outside Dublin’s Regency Hotel where the gun attack took place. photo

By Irish Echo Staff

Drug gangs, terrorists and a general election campaign have made for a potent news mix since last Friday’s gun attack on a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel which left one man dead, two wounded, and dozens frightened for their lives.

The attack, directed at Dublin gangland drug dealers and which has generated worldwide headlines, has since been claimed by the continuity IRA.

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Tanaiste Joan Burton was one of the first politicians to take a political tack after the shooting in hitting out at recent Sinn Féin calls for the abolition of the republic’s non-jury Special Criminal Court.

“We’re living in Ireland, not Mexico. We have to ensure that we can deal with a small number of criminal gangs, and that the courts are able to prosecute and deal with the people who are responsible,” Burton said in response to calls from both Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald for the abolition of the court.

Adams has vigorously condemned the gun attack on the Regency Hotel on Dublin’s north side.

“Sinn Fein have to account for their call in recent days, again, to abolish the Special Criminal Court, and particularly in light of yesterday’s horrific and brutal murder in the Regency Hotel,” said Burton.
“The Special Criminal Court was established during the Troubles to ensure that witnesses could give evidence free from intimidation and fear. It’s also being used in relation to gangland and gun crime and it’s allowed prosecutions to be achieved against major criminals.”

“Without the availability of the Special Criminal Court you can think back to the murders of people like Veronica Guerin. The courts would have been significantly hampered in bringing really serious criminals to justice,” she said.

In a statement to the BBC in Belfast, the Continuity IRA said they ordered the killing of David Byrne using a six-man gang, some armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and dressed in Swat team uniforms, at the Regency.

Gardai have said the shooting was part of a gangland feud. The terrorist faction has been involved in extorting vast sums of money from major drug dealers in the Republic, the Irish Independent reported
Added the report: “The Continuity IRA reportedly claimed Byrne, 33, from Crumlin in Dublin, was singled out as a reprisal for the killing of Real IRA leader Alan Ryan in Dublin in September 2012.

“The terrorists claimed other drug dealers and criminals were also on their hit list.

“Garda sources have indicated that they will examine all possibilities, but it is not clear why the Continuity IRA would carry out a reprisal shooting for the murder of Ryan, who was leader of a separate dissident organization.”

About 300 people, including families with children, boxing fans and a small number of members of the media were in the hotel when the gunmen, one of them disguised as a woman, attacked.

The weigh-in was for a title fight billed “Clash of the Clans” between Irish fighter Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio Jao Bento. The fight was subsequently cancelled.

Two men were injured in the shooting while a number of bystanders and workers were either threatened at gunpoint or fled.

The Continuity IRA statement in Belfast stated that the group been retraining and re-arming in recent years.

"This will not be an isolated incident. CIRA units have been authorized to carry out further operations. More drug dealers and criminals will be targeted. CIRA will carry out further military operations," the statement said.

Reports Monday pointed to members of a prominent Dublin criminal gang having met after the shooting and vowing revenge.