The Tánaiste heard of this morning's barbaric killings while at the Government meeting.  He briefed the Taoiseach and his Cabinet colleagues with the preliminary information available. 

This afternoon he met Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy and Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations Fachtna Murphy at Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park for an in-depth briefing on the circumstances of the killings. 

The Tánaiste has consistently said that the killing of any person regardless of their associations or past history is abhorrent.  He deplores both these killings and wants to extend his sympathy to their families.  The fact that it appears that one of the unfortunate victims is a wholly innocent young man who was going about his lawful daily work is truly shocking. 

Over the past year, the Garda Commissioner and his senior officers have been in daily contact with the Tánaiste about their efforts to address gangland crime activity, particularly on the northside of the city.  Unprecedented manpower, resources, dedicated operations and a wide range of policing activity, both overt and covert, have been deployed by the Gardaí against this menace. 

The Gardaí have had a great deal of success in disrupting and intercepting the associates of the target of today's murders with over 30 arrests and very significant volumes of drugs and firearms seized.  The Commissioner is adamant that his officers will continue to pursue the strategy of bringing the maximum pressure to bear on persons suspected of involvement in organised crime. 

The Commissioner has informed the Tánaiste that he has appointed a very senior and experienced investigator Assistant Commissioner Martin Callinan to take personal charge of the investigation.  The Tánaiste emphasised to the Gardaí that the Government's position was whatever resources were requested for the fight against the scourge of drug and gun crime would be made available.  

12 December 2006