MURDER NATION; Number of Murders in Ireland Have Jumped 50% in Past 3 Months That Doesn't Include the 9 Horrific Killings during Last 4 Weeks Drug Crime Goes Up 30% in a Year. We're Living In

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Byline: By DARREN BOYLE, Crime Reporter

THE number of killings in Ireland has jumped by 50 per cent in the past three months, figures revealed yesterday.

But worse still for Justice Minister Brian Lenihan, the latest murder rate does not include this month's nine horrific killings.

Since the statistics were compiled four men have been gunned down in gangland hits and three women have been murdered, including Swiss student Manuela Riedo.

Most recently, New Age traveller Gary Bull was beaten to death and dumped in a slurry pit, while suspected diesel smuggler Paul Quinn was bludgeoned to death by a ruthless mob.

The number of threats to kill and murder attempts also more than doubled during the same period.

Drugs offences have soared by almost 30 per cent over the past 12 months.

The majority of drug crimes include possession with intent to supply, but there has been a 26 per cent jump in the cultivation, manufacture or importation of drugs.

The Central Statistics Office yesterday said that between July and September 2007 there were 21 murders - an increase of seven on the same period in 2006.

A CSO spokesman said: "Murder attempts and threats also increased significantly from 19 in the third quarter of 2006 to 51 in the most recent quarter. …