Longford councillor calls for army to be called in to assist gardai

The Defence Forces should be brought in to assist gardai in their ongoing battle against organised crime, a local county councillor has claimed.

The Defence Forces should be brought in to assist gardai in their ongoing battle against organised crime, a local county councillor has claimed.

Cllr Frank Kilbride said officers were now in ever increasing need of support and assistance following the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe six weeks ago.

According to the Longford councillor, Defence Force members could prove useful in patrolling streets and accompanying the transfer of large cash sums from other institutions besides banks.

“We have a nationwide problem in this country with security,” he told elected members at a recent county council meeting.

He said much could be learned from the tactics employed by former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani where crime rates quickly returned a marked drop under his tenure.

“Mayor Giuliani cleaned up New York’s streets by bringing in the army. It was on the news all over the world,” he contended.

“There was one day which showed that in 24 hours there wasn’t one crime in the whole city.”

Branching away from his earlier motion, Cllr Kilbride said the killing of Garda Donohoe on January 25 last in Dundalk also brought with it plenty of talking points.

One such matter, he said, centred on the level of firearms training handed out to specialised gardai.

While Cllr Kilbride’s urgings returned largely favourable comments, some, headed by Cllr Denis Glennon were quick to throw caution on doubts about garda coaching protocols.

“I just feel the whole justice system needs a major overhaul,” he replied to Cllr Kilbride. “We had a person sentenced to six years for importing garlic and then you see drug barons walking out of our courts because they have intimidated the hell out of witnesses.”

In citing last month’s Special Criminal Court ruling that found Dublin criminal Brian Rattigan guilty of the supply and possession of €1m in heroin while behind bars, Cllr Glennon said heftier penalties needed to be meted out.

“We had one case of a drugs baron running his business from prison,” he said. “To be honest I find the sentencing that’s going on at the minute a bit of a joke. What’s two or three years to these guys?”