Sun, 06 Jun, 2021 – 12:23 Gordon Deegan
There are currently 102 prisoners in custody associated with known organised criminal gangs serving a sentence or awaiting trial.
That is according to new figures provided by the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys who also revealed that there are an additional 70 to 80 prisoners who are associates of these crime gang members.
Ms Humphreys said that those 70 to 80 prisoners “are not known to be officially aligned to organised gangs and others who are part of ‘gangs’ in prison who are not known as organised criminal gangs”.
In a written Dáil reply to Bernard Durcan TD, Ms Humphreys said the figures excludes the subversive prisoners in Portlaoise prison.
She explained: “Membership or allegiance of these criminal groups fluctuates on a continuous basis with some persons breaking links and others becoming affiliated on a daily basis.
“It is also the case that prisoners will not always declare their affiliation to certain groupings and it is therefore not possible to provide definitive numbers in relation to the number of known members of criminal groupings currently in custody.”
More than one criminal gang may group together under the umbrella of a particular group and in some instances some gangs may form splinter groups due to family or in house disputes.
In response to the upsurge in crime gang members receiving long jail terms, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) has put in place certain security initiatives that have made it more difficult for prisoners to engage in illegal activities while in prison.
These include initiatives such as the gathering and collating of intelligence information on members of criminal groups in custody, carrying out intelligence-led operations, searches, and preventing the flow of contraband in prisons.
The latest Kinahan gang member to be sentenced for murder, Lee Canavan (32) of Edenbrook, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, was last week sentenced to life for the feud murder of David ‘Daithi’ Douglas.
Canavan was the fourth and final member of the murder cell to be convicted in relation to the fatal gun attack on July 1st 2016 as part of the Hutch/Kinahan feud which claimed up to 18 lives.
Last October, the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee revealed that 71 prisoners associated with known criminal gangs are due for release in the next three years.