Diarmuid Martin: Gang members 'determined to eliminate anyone who gets in their way'

Archbishop of Dublin describes Kinahan-Hutch feud as a threat to democracy

Diarmuid Martin: Gang members 'determined to eliminate anyone who gets in their way'

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin | Photocall file photo

The Kinahan-Hutch gang feud is a threat to democracy, according to the Archbishop of Dublin.

In an interview on Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show, Diarmuid Martin described those involved are sober, cold and "determined to make sure anyone who gets in their way is eliminated".

Mr Martin said the feud, which has so far claimed the lives of 10 people, damages communities and wider society.

"It’s a real threat to democracy that these people are saying: 'We can run the country as we wish. We will decide what happens.'

"The experiences is that as time goes on they invest in the ordinary economy, set up their power sources in different ways and that is not good."

Violence has been construed in gangs as a way to gain status and is "not necessarily about financial reward", he added.

"That sort of thing happens in all mafia-type criminality. It is destructive of society, destructive of some communities and I feel very sorry for the decent families in some of these areas."

The vilification of inner-city neighbourhoods in which most shootings have taken place may also impact on the job prospects of young people living there, he added.

Mr Martin said he continues to believe that family members are best placed to stop the violence.

Earlier this year, he called on mothers and grandmothers of gangland criminals to persuade them to lay down their weapons.

"It’s only from within that they will be persuaded. These people are not afraid of the gardaí," he told presenter Pat Kenny.

"They wouldn’t like to be arrested and end up in prison but they’ll keep going.

"I can’t understand how an entire family will watch as their members are being knocked off one after the other and not be able to say 'you’ve got to stop this'."