The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has called for anti-Mafia style laws to combat gangland crime in his city.
Martin was speaking to the Irish Independent on a feud between Ireland’s two biggest criminal organizations that has claimed six lives since last September.
The feud is between gangs headed by Spanish-based drugs cartel boss Christy Kinahan and relatives of former robber Gerry “The Monk” Hutch.
The first victim, killed in Spain, was 34-year-old Gary Hutch. The most recent was 34-year-old dissident republican Michael Barr, a native of Co. Tyrone who lived in Dublin and had links to the Hutch gang and was shot dead last month.
The gang war included the murder of a member of the Kinahan gang shot dead in broad daylight at a boxing event promotion when armed bogus police officers and others were photographed escaping with guns from Dublin’s Regency Hotel in February.
Nobody has yet been charged with any of the murders.
Martin this week called for the introduction of a “new type of policing” using anti-Mafia laws and courts similar to those operated in Italy.
Referring to the Regency Hotel attack which happened a short distance from his home, he said, “The spiral of violence, the shootings are extraordinarily brutal.
“Coming into a place and shooting somebody in the face in front of even children ... what sort of animals are these people? I get actually moved when I hear these stories and I get angry when I hear these stories.”
He said the legal processes being used by the gardai and the courts in areas such as the seizure of assets from criminals was “too slow.”
During the years that he was assigned to the Vatican, Martin took a keen interest in how the Italian state pursued notorious mobsters. He said Ireland should look to Italy and how it staged trials where scores of Mafiosi were tried at the same time.
He said the Dublin gangs appeared to be trying to out-do each other with garish displays of wealth at their funerals. If there were 10 limousines at one funeral, there would be 12 from the rival gang at the next.
“It is like the mafia, they love funerals,” Martin added.