Amnesty demands probe into robbery killings
Amnesty demands probe into robbery killings

Amnesty International has called for an independent inquiry into the killing of two criminals in an ambush by Garda police at a rural post office.

Colm Griffin and Eric Hopkins, both from Dublin, were shot dead when gardaí opened fire after confronting a gang of five men inside the post office at Lusk, County Dublin this morning.

The gang had been under surveillance and a robbery attempt had been expected.

According to witnesses, armed Gardai emerged from a camper van parked close to the post office, while others pulled up in cars before storming the building.

An increase in serious crime has been evident in recent months, with a number of raids on security vans, financial institutions and business premises.

26-County Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the public had been calling for stronger law enforcement and should not go weak-kneed when it is delivered.

“I have every confidence in the gardaí, I have every confidence in the job they do,” he said.

“Day in, day out people are raising the issue of crime with me, the issue that we’re too soft on crime, that we need to be tougher on crime, that we need more resources and more effort.

“When the gardaí respond I hope people don’t get weak-kneed.”

A loaded side arm was recovered at the scene, but it is not clear if it was not fired.

Amnesty International said it needed to be established that gardaí had done everything possible to avoid shooting the men.

A spokesowman said an internal garda investigation was not sufficient and called for the establishment of an independent Garda Ombudsman.

A spokeswoman said: “In cases where lethal force has been used by members of an Garda Siochana an independent investigation needs to be held, both in the interests of the gardaí themselves and in the interests of public confidence and accountability.”

The 26-County Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, made no comment on the killings.

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