Our Attitude to Gun Crime Must Change
WHEN Fine Gael's Alan Shatter yesterday compared Dublin to 1920s Chicago, he wasn't simply indulging in political hyperbole. Indeed, the scene played out in Fairview in the early hours of yesterday morning - a lone gunman strolling across a busy street, armed with two handguns and firing indiscriminately into the crowd outside a pub - more closely resembled the Wild West.
Nor, unfortunately, is there anything especially exceptional about such an incident. Hardly a weekend goes by without another drive-by shooting, another revenge 'hit' or another gunfight between rival gangs on the streets of Dublin or Limerick. What was, of course, exceptional - and truly shocking - on this occasion is that two innocent bystanders were injured, one critically.
And that is why, as Leslie Ann Horgan writes so powerfully elsewhere in this newspaper, this appalling incident must become a watershed moment in our battle with the drug gangs. It is now a full year since Dermot Ahern fast-tracked far-ranging new powers - including covert surveillance, secret detention centres, detention on the word of a single low-ranking garda and non-jury trials in gangland cases - through the Dail.
Quite clearly, however, Mr Ahern's muchvaunted war on organised crime is proving every bit as successful as that so notoriously mounted by his predecessor Michael McDowell in 2004, when he made his infamous boast that we were witnessing 'the last sting of a dying wasp'. …