Armed support unit for Dublin police in wake of attacks

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Media captionAn armed support unit is to be established in Dublin following two gangland shootings

The gardai (Irish police) are to establish a permanent armed support unit for Dublin in the wake of two killings in a gangland feud.

The latest victim was shot in the city on Monday night.

Eddie Hutch Sr, 59, was killed in his flat in Poplar Row, North Strand, in the north inner city.

Police believe it could be a reprisal for a murder at a boxing match weigh-in on Friday.

The garda commissioner (head of police) met the Republic's justice minister on Tuesday to discuss the latest attacks.

After the meeting, Nóirín O'Sullivan said she outlined to minister Frances Fitzgerald her requirements in terms of capacity and capability to respond to current and emerging threats.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption It is understood four men were involved in the attack on Eddie Hutch on Monday night

She said since Friday, gardaí have an organisation-wide response in place, with plans in place for the coming days.

She added that she is also adopting a policy of saturation policing, involving multi-rolling checkpoints and controls paid for by overtime.

The total cost of the package is an additional €5 million.

Image caption Nóirín O'Sullivan said there was no specific intelligence ahead of Friday's shooting

Monday's murder was believed to be in retaliation for a gun attack on the Regency Hotel on Friday, which resulted in another man, David Byrne, being shot dead.

Gardaí have been criticised for not having any intelligence about what was going to happen on Friday, despite the fact that various media outlets heard something might happen.

However, Ms O'Sullivan insisted there was no specific intelligence relating to the event.

She said that gardaí are deployed on the basis of risk and threat.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption Irish police believe the killing could be a reprisal for the murder of David Byrne on Friday

"We have to be very careful how we deploy members," she said.

"If there is no threat, we cannot [deploy] members. Last Friday was a public sporting event and you cannot have [police] going to every single event, just because criminals may be there."

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that she would be concerned at any failings.

"Obviously if intelligence had been available, clearly the gardai would have been there," she said.

"I would be concerned at any intelligence failing, of course, but what I would say is that gardai did not have intelligence in relation to it."

Ms O'Sullivan said that she is happy with the police resources she has at her disposal.

"There is no doubt that over the last number of years we have seen significant reductions in both human and financial resources, and we've worked hard to redress that.

"We can't redress it overnight, but I'm very satisfied with the intelligence capability that we have and the calibre of people that we have remaining and with the investment in the ongoing continuous recruitment."

Image copyright RTE
Image caption Eddie Hutch, who was in his 50s, was killed at his apartment in the north inner city

At least four gunmen entered Mr Hutch's home at 19.45 local time and shot him dead in the hallway. The getaway car, a silver BMW, was found a short distance away.

Petrol was found inside the car and it is thought the gunmen intended to burn it out.

Ms Fitzgerald urged gang members fearing for their safety to go to the police.

Friday's shooting was claimed by a group purporting to be the Continuity IRA (CIRA), a dissident republican faction.

A second statement made on Monday evening, also claiming to be from the Continuity IRA, denied any involvement in the attack at the hotel.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald described Monday's attack as "another deplorable example of the ruthlessness of gangland criminals"

Ms Fitzgerald said all lines of inquiry will be pursued.

"We have had claim and counter claim, that is still under investigation and like all of the other lines of investigation has to be taken very seriously.

"And I suppose the point I would make in terms of the firearms, we have had a history where An Garda Síochána in this state has had to confront dissidents where firearms were widely available, and of course there are legacy issues in relation to that, and indeed in relation to dissident activity.

"So one has to always be conscious that many people who were formerly involved in various types of activity have got involved in organised crime as well."

Eddie Hutch Snr is the uncle of Gary Hutch who was shot dead in Spain five months ago.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police at the scene on Monday night

He is the brother of Gerry Hutch, a notorious criminal in Dublin in the late 1980s and 90s who was nicknamed the Monk.

It is understood the Monk has retired from crime and made a settlement with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The shooting Is believed to be part of a feud between two gangs - one based mainly in Spain and the other linked to the north inner city in Dublin.

Image caption A police cordon remained in place on Tuesday morning, close to the scene of the fatal shooting

The victim was a father of five and had a criminal record, but he was not regarded as a senior figure in Dublin's criminal world.

Ms Fitzgerald called it "another deplorable example of the ruthlessness of gangland criminals".

"It seems that some gangs are intent on waging a feud where human life counts for nothing," Ms Fitzgerald said.

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