The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has said that despite a weekend shooting in west Dublin, he believes that gangland crime is dissipating and those involved in the activity 'are on the backfoot'.

He also said that he had been informed this morning by the Garda Commissioner, Noel Conroy, and gardaí in charge of Operation Crossover that they are adequately resourced to fight gangland crime.

The minister was speaking at the publication of the 2003 annual report of the Legal Aid Board, which showed that people in some legal aid centres around the country are waiting more than a year for an appointment.

However, the Chairperson of the board, Anne Colley, said that as a result of increased funding in the Book of Estimates, they hoped to reduce waiting periods to four months by the end of 2005.

The report also showed a 40% reduction in the number of asylum seekers availing of free legal aid in 2003.