Irish reward over Kinahans considered, with US crackdown 'just the start'

Micheál Martin said he will discuss a financial reward with his Government colleagues
Irish reward over Kinahans considered, with US crackdown 'just the start'

By Cate McCurry, PA

The Taoiseach said the Government will consider offering a financial reward for information on the Kinahan crime gang, while the Minister for Justice said new US sanctions imposed on its leaders are “just the very start.”

US authorities have offered a five million dollar reward for information on the Kinahan gang that leads to the arrest and conviction of its leaders. The US Treasury Department has placed sanctions on Christy Kinahan and his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr, along with four associates and three businesses linked to the cartel.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said it sends a clear message to the group that “you might be a large organisation, you might think that you have a far reach, but you cannot evade the law.”

“These sanctions, these rewards again, I think, will hugely disrupt their activities, their ability to continue their activities, but also their ability to enjoy the proceeds of their criminal activities,” she continued.

“And what was clear from today as well, is that this is just the very start.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin meanwhile said he will discuss the possibility of an Irish financial reward with his Government colleagues and keep the measure under review.

He welcomed the US government crackdown on the Kinahan crime gang as “very, very significant”.

“I welcome this, and I do believe that we have to work internationally, and collaborate with other authorities in respect of these issues,” he said.

Asked whether the Irish Government would follow with a similar reward for information that leads to the arrest of key gang members, Mr Martin said the Government “want to do everything we possibly can generally to deal with criminality in our country”.

He acknowledged the importance of international collaboration and noted that crime crosses borders.

“I will discuss that with Government colleagues and certainly keep an issue like that under review.

“We do have the Criminal Assets Bureau which was an initiative many, many years ago following the murder of Veronica Guerin.”

Mr Martin said that he did not discuss the sanctions when he spoke to US president Joe Biden while he was in Washington DC for St Patrick’s Day.

Net getting tighter

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar welcomed the development in the Kinahan case, describing it as “good news” and “positive”.

He said that the international gang has escaped justice for too long.

Mr Varadkar said on Tuesday: “My understanding is that it only arose and it’s only really happening largely because of work done by the gardaí and cooperation between the gardaí and the FBI and the US authorities.

“Hopefully, we’ll see it produce results because that particular organisation has escaped justice for far too long.

“Perhaps this is evidence of the net getting tighter.”

Mr Varadkar also said he thinks offering financial rewards for information is “worthy of consideration” but added it is not something that has been done in the past.

“If you think of the cost to the nation of what criminal enterprises do, giving people a reward for information probably makes sense,” Mr Varadkar added.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald also welcomed the announcement from US authorities, saying it was “a hugely significant step in efforts to put the Kinahan drugs cartel out of business and behind bars where they belong.”

“There can be no safe haven for their activities anywhere in the world," she said.

“Many families and communities across the city of Dublin and beyond will be relieved at today’s development. So many young men have lost their lives in the senseless violence linked to this drug cartel.”

It was revealed on Tuesday that US authorities were offering the $5 million reward (€4.6 million) for information that will lead to the “financial destruction” of the Kinahan gang or the arrest and conviction of its leaders, Christy Kinahan Snr and/or his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr.

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