The Rector Writes – concern on gangland warfare

Since its inception, the ongoing feud between the Kinahan and Hutch criminal gangs has claimed seven lives. Meanwhile the forces of law and order seem virtually powerless to either predict or prevent the next move in what amounts to a volatile and fluid situation. Certainly, there is no cooperation from either family as they are both heavily involved in illegal activity. Some would argue that as they are fighting each other it might actually be a good thing as it will ultimately lead to a reduction in their numbers.
However, that is far too simplistic and a dangerously mistaken assumption.
First, as each killing unfolds, there are a large number of friends and acquaintances affected including partners and children with no direct involvement in the feud itself. Second, as the main criminal activity involved concerns the extremely lucrative illegal drugs trade, the elimination of a number of the players only serves to leave a vacuum which will be quickly filled by other (and perhaps more ruthless) individuals.
For many years there has been great concern expressed and there have been many debates about the growing drug culture in Ireland. On one side of the debate there are those who describe the substances used as ‘Recreational’ drugs. However, at best, that is misleading as it suggests that it is simply just another normal recreational activity and certainly does not capture the fact that according to the laws of our country, they are illegal. Unfortunately, the Union of Students in Ireland have gone down this route as they now accept that despite extensive education campaigns, there is still a high percentage of drug abuse amongst their members. Accordingly they are calling for the decimalisation of certain categories of drugs to have certain safeguard put in place to ensure toxins are not used in the adulteration of those drugs. On the other side of the debate are those who call for a ‘zero tolerance’. But, as good as that policy may sound, experiences in other countries have proven that it would be virtually impossible to provide the resources, both in law enforcement and detention, to enforce it. And a likely side affect would be to drive the drug trade even further underground which would in turn decrease the purity of substances and increase the criminal gangs’ profit margins.
It is a simple fact of economics that if there was no demand, there would be no need for supply. The government, through the Department of Health, has funded numerous educational campaigns which have been targeted at Second level and University students; those deemed most vulnerable to drug abuse, but with very little success. On the other hand, very little has been targeted at young to middle-aged professionals, where according to media reports, there is a major drug abuse problem.
Perhaps, if this segment of society and all involved in drugs were to understand that what they may deem to be a recreational activity is actually fuelling the ongoing gang feud. By extension, that means that not only those who carry out ‘executions’ but they too have blood on their hands. Jesus said, ‘Do to others as would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:13) None of us would like anyone  belonging to us to become a victim of either drug abuse or gangland crime. Therefore we all have a duty of care to neither directly or indirectly support criminal activity.
With every blessing,
John.
Rev’d John Tanner – Tel: 289 3154   Mobile: 086 302 1376
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