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Warning shots for the gangs.

The chilling symbolism of eight gunshots blasting down a telephone line will escape no one today.

Labour TD Roisin Shortall was terrified when she heard the noises hours before launching a tough anti-drugs document.

The gunfire represented the criminal underworld's determination to intimidate and scare anyone who stands in the way of its evil activities.

But like Veronica Guerin, the journalist gunned down by an underworld hitman for publishing stories opposing the criminals, there are thousands who believe the gangsters must be stood up to.

Lawlessness on the streets is on the increase as organised criminals run amok. Those in charge of the crooked businesses and protection rackets are living in dishonest luxury and the forces of law and order appear powerless to do anything about them.

Target

But last night the Dail fired off its own warning shots.

The murders of Veronica Guerin and Detective Garda Jerry McCabe convinced deputies of all parties to approve wide-ranging Government measures to break the gangsters' stranglehold.

The pounds 45million anti-crime agenda's hard-hitting measures include an extra 400 gardai on the streets, more prison cells and a move to evict known drug traffickers from housing estates.

A tightening up of the bail laws and an end to the right to silence in drug trafficking cases have also been sanctioned by party leaders.

Corrupt

But the setting up of a special gangbuster task force will raise more hearts than any of these measures.

Made up of 80 senior policemen, it will target Ireland's principal godfathers round the clock.

There will be no peace for those who believe they can kill and maim to keep up the corrupt lifestyles they have become accustomed to.

As we remember those who have paid the ultimate price for standing up against these arch criminals, it is only right that every law-abiding citizen in the land should lend their support to the new measures.

Those eerie telephone gunshots should come to symbolise the time when Ireland said enough is enough.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 3, 1996
Words:331
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