The Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, has said the Government would not tolerate what he described as a 'cult of killing' in the city of Limerick.

In a statement to the Dáil Mr McDowell announced an extra €2m for the gardaí to target organised crime.

It follows the collapse yesterday of the Liam Keane murder trial.

Earlier, a bench warrant was issued for Mr Keane after he failed to turn up at the District Court in Limerick in connection with a number of public order offences.

The 19-year-old, of Ballysimon in Limerick, is charged with two public order offences allegedly committed at the Parkway Shopping Centre in Limerick on 19 October.

Mr Keane, who was accused of the murder of Eric Leamy in the city in August 2001, walked free from the Central Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday after a sixth prosecution witness refused to give evidence against him.

The District Court in Limerick was told today that Mr Keane was still in Dublin. Judge Tom O’Donnell issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Fine Gael calls for 'gang' trial reforms

Following the collapse of the murder trial, Fine Gael called for all gangland trials to be held in the Special Criminal Court, and urged the Minister for Justice to 'stop lecturing' and start listening to the people who care about winning the battle against crime.

FG Justice spokesman John Deasy said that up to yesterday Minister McDowell still claimed he was winning the battle against criminal gangs, but the collapse of the Leamy murder trial was the final wake-up call for him.

Deputy Deasy said the Minister must start listening to the gardaí who say a shortage of resources is a factor in the current crisis in the criminal justice system.

He said Fine Gael would support the Minister in any measures that would help to reverse this losing trend in the fight against crime.