Anger over mounting crime wave
Anger over mounting crime wave

The 26-County Minister for Justice Michael McDowell is under pressure over rising gun crime following three fatal shootings in just over a week.

The Deputy Prime Minister was challenged by Opposition leaders in the Dublin parliament on increasing crime levels after news that a man was gunned down in Drogheda and a woman was injured.

That attack comes days after Latvian-born mother of two Baiba Saulite was shot dead as she spoke to friends on the doorstep of her Dublin home in what is believed to have been a professional assassination.

The Sunday night murder of the 28-year-old while her young children slept in her home sparked widespread condemnation. Saulite had told of her fears that she might be attacked, but Garda police failed to prevent her murder.

That shooting followed a gun attack on a street near Croke Park stadium which left one man dead.

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte asked Mr McDowell to make a statement on the killing of Ms Saulite.

“Can I ask the Minister if he intends to come into the House to make a statement on the case and the many disquieting factors that appear to surround it?” asked Mr Rabbitte.

“In particular, in the matter of her protection by the gardai, if it was refused, having regard to the fact that her solicitor has such protection, and the fact that it was a contract killing.”

In reply, Mr McDowell said he could not comment on an ongoing Garda investigation.

Recent figures show that headline crime has increased 5 per cent over the past 12 months, drug dealing is up 26 per cent and murders are up 16 per cent over the same period.

Fine Gael, the largest opposition party, said the latest crime figures show Michael McDowell’s tenure as Minister for Justice has been a “total failure”. Justice spokesman Jim O’Keeffe said the figures painted an unbelievably bleak picture of modern Ireland and were a “shocking indictment” of the Minister’s performance.

* Meanwhile, a 15 year-old girl has died from injuries received after an assault in Castleknock in Dublin.

Rebecca Kiely from Dublin was an innocent bystander when she was struck with a baseball bat during a fight between two men on Friday, November 10th.

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