Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.40 17 Sep 2020


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The Justice Minister Helen McEntee says Gardaí have intercepted some 75 occasions where hitmen were hired for murder since the 2016 Regency Hotel attack in Dublin.

David Byrne (33) was killed in the attack during a boxing weigh-in, which escalated gangland crime in the capital.

It comes as the crime of conspiracy to murder is to carry a new maximum sentence of life in prison.

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Minister McEntee says conspiracy to murder should be treated as seriously as committing murder.

Legislation that would see the sentence for the crime increased from 10 years is to be brought forward.

It is in an effort to tackle gangland crime by allowing judges to impose more severe sentences for those convicted.

Minister McEntee told Newstalk Breakfast just because Gardaí prevent a murder from happening does not mean criminals should get off lightly.

"What I'm seeking to do is increase what at the moment is maybe somewhat of an anomaly, we have two acts - an older act and a newer one - which prevent a judge from recommending or from implementing a sentence of over 10 years where somebody has been found guilty of conspiracy to murder.

"As far as I'm concerned, and the Gardaí and others, I think everybody would agree conspiracy to murder is no less a heinous crime than attempted murder or murder - both of which carry a sentence of up to life in prison.

"Because the Gardaí intercept these crimes, because they prevent the murder from happening, it doesn't take away from the seriousness of this crime.

"What I want to ensure is that those, in particular the gangland criminals because what we've seen in recent years is an increase in this kind of activity, an increase of hiring of hitmen for murders.

"We know that Gardaí have intercepted on maybe 75 different occasions since the Regency Hotel attack.

"But what we want to say is that those who are organising these at the very top that they are not exempt from these type of penalties.

"This I think will support the Gardaí in the work that they are doing, and they've done a huge amount of fantastic work over the last number of years in tackling these gangland criminals and this type of activity.

"But where the penalty is only 10 years, it's not severe enough".

Gardaí 'intercept 75 hitmen for hire murders' since 2016

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Main image: members of the Garda ERU (Emergency Response Unit) stand by a Garda Checkpoint in Dublin in 2016. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Conspiracy To Murder Gangland Crime Helen McEntee Hitmen For Hire Life In Prison Murders

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