Sinn Féin TD says his party cannot be held responsible for levels of gangland crime

Journalists under threat from Dublin gangs working from undisclosed location

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Armed Gardai from the forces Emergency Response Unit on patrol in North Inner City Dublin as gang violence has resulted in two murders in four days. Picture by: Niall Carson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Sinn Féin TD says his party cannot be held responsible for the level of gangland crime.

Peadar Toibin says the level of gangland crime is a direct result of government cuts to gardaí, and not Sinn Féin's position on the Special Criminal Court.

The jobs spokesman for the party says he accepts the legality of the court, but his faith in its judgments is lowered by not having a jury.

And he says his party is being unfairly targeted when gangland strength is the government's fault.

While the editor-in-chief of Independent News and Media (INM) says journalists who have been warned they under threat from gangland criminals in Dublin are working from an undisclosed location, but will not change the way they are reporting.

The former colleague of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin says his memory of her death means they are taking the threats very seriously.

Stephen Rea says gardaí have advised INM that one of their journalists is subject to a serious threat, while a second journalist has been advised to increase security.

Mr Rea says the organisation will not identify the journalists in question.

INM has hired an outside security firm to increase their protection. 

Rea told Newstalk Breakfast earlier reports on gangland crime are in the public interest.

INM journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered by Dublin criminals on June 26th, 1996.

The threats come as Dublin remains on heightened alert following two gangland killings in the past week.

Strongest condemnation

In a statement by Taoiseach Enda Kenny last night, he said:"On behalf of the Government and myself I deplore and condemn any threat made to any journalist in this jurisdiction".

"One of the pillars of a functioning democracy is freedom of speech and in any self respecting society, journalists must be afforded the freedom to go about their jobs without fear of reprisal".

"Those who engaged in the recent killings on our streets will be brought to justice and no resource will be spared in doing so". 

"The journalists at whom these threats have been levelled have our full support as do all journalists bravely going about their daily duties."

Seamus Dooley of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) says the threats are worrying, but reporters will not be intimidated.

The NUJ are "gravely concerned", Mr Dooley said.

"Journalists and media organisations will not be intimidated by such threats, which have no place in a democratic society".

"Our immediate thoughts are with those under threat and their families. No journalists should be placed under threat for doing their job".

"We remind all journalists to remain vigilant and to be mindful of their personal safety. Employers and editorial managers must continue to support, training and guidance to staff and freelance journalists covering dangerous situations. INM has told me it is supporting those under threat and is mindful of their obligations," he added.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has condemned the threats, saying there can be no place in society for "threats to any journalists."