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local outcry

Gangland bloodshed: Incensed residents call for inner city garda station to be reopened

The station at the epicentre of Dublin’s latest wave of gangland violence was shut five years ago for health and safety reasons.

JUST 500 YARDS from the inner city Dublin pub where the latest apparent gangland killing took place on Monday night lies this empty, four-storey garda station.

download infomatique via Flickr / Creative Commons infomatique via Flickr / Creative Commons / Creative Commons

The Fitzgibbon Street station was one of the busiest in the capital when it was vacated for health and safety reasons in 2011. The 110 staff that were based there were transferred to Mountjoy, leaving the Summerhill, Ballybough and East Wall areas of the city without a nearby garda base.

A small public office remains, adjacent to the building, but there appears to be no sign of the main station reopening soon. Garda authorities have described its closure as a temporary measure taken to facilitate refurbishment. Five years later, however, locals say they remain in the dark about when it will be upgraded.

download Circled is the temporary office currently in use, beside the now vacant station Google Maps Google Maps

Local councillor Christy Burke, the former Dublin mayor, told that a lack of garda visibility in the area has cast “a shadow of fear” over residents. “My daughter lives down the road from the Sunset Inn, just around the corner from where Eddie Hutch was shot [in February],” he said.

“She had to bring her kids past the crime scene [yesterday] to school.”

Burke said some families on Portland Row, the street bordering the pub where Michael Barr was shot dead, now want to be moved out of the area where they have lived all their lives.

“These killings are creating a huge amount of fear and insecurity. People are in shock and despair,” he said.

“One man told me his 11-year-old daughter doesn’t feel safe leaving the house.”

Following the recent murder of innocent father Martin O’Rourke outside a pub on Sheriff Street, he added, a group of local parents had even requested that gardaí escort their children as they travelled to and from school.

sunset Pinpointed here are the old Fitzgibbon Street station (1) and Sunset House (2) Google Maps Google Maps

Garrett Fennell of the Mountjoy Square Society said a lack of clarity about the future of the Fitzgibbon Street station has led to frustration among locals. “It was a hub activity but it’s just a rotting, empty building now,” he told

“We used to have a fairly significant number of guards around the square – they’d go into shops and just be around the place. There have been guards at checkpoints recently because of the [gangland] feud but you wouldn’t see them walking through the streets.

“We had an incident recently where someone was causing nuisance at one of the houses on the square but the guards couldn’t send anyone so we had to get a fire engine.”

Anyone spotted wearing a garda uniform in the area, he added, is “more likely to be filming for Love/Hate” than fighting crime.

25/4/2016. Gangland Shootings Murders The scene in Ballybough following Monday night's shooting


Another local councillor, Nial Ring, who was born and raised in Summerhill, said the presence of a nearby garda station had been “psychologically important” for residents, particularly elderly people.

However, Ring praised Chief Superintendent Patrick Leahy for initiating local operations that have seen community gardaí visit thousands of north inner city households in recent years.

“We know that garda resources have been stretched to the limit,” he added, though. Budget cuts have put significant pressure on and reduced the number of personnel going door to door, he said.

“There’s a sense of unease that’s translating into anger. While all of this is going on, the circus of government talks continues, with politicians talking about the price of a glass of water. What about the price of life?

“This area has been devastated by drugs – I see it every morning – but the guards are helpless to deal with it.

“In the north inner city, except for the likes of people like [Pat Leahy], we’re left to our own devices. It breaks my heart seeing this area in the news, again, for bad reasons.”

unnamed Gardaí stand outside the Sunset House pub where Michael Barr was killed

An Garda Síochána said in a statement that it does intend to locate a district headquarters station at Fitzgibbon Street, though it was not able to clarify when it would open.

“This matter will be progressed by An Garda Síochána, in collaboration with the [Office of Public Works], in the context of the national accommodation priorities of An Garda Síochána and the level of capital funding available,” the force said.

It added: “To provide for an ongoing garda presence in Fitzgibbon Street garda station, a building adjacent to [the station], number 29A, was identified as suitable for a garda office.

“This building was refurbished and is currently operating as a temporary public office which also houses the burglary resource unit.”

The Office of Public Works said it undertakes works at stations as prioritised by garda authorities.

Read: Gardaí say perpetrators will be brought to justice after two men shot dead in Dublin

Read: Two men killed in separate shootings in Dublin

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