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daylight attack

Gareth Hutch shooting: Incensed inner city residents say they've been abandoned

Angry locals say similar violence in any other part of the country would be met with a major crackdown.

24/5/2016 Gangland Murders Crime Scenes Sam Boal Sam Boal

RESIDENTS OF DUBLIN’S North Inner City area have become accustomed to reports of shootings in recent months – but that familiarity did nothing to dampen the shock felt by locals who witnessed this morning’s vicious gun attack.

A group of men gathered at the social welfare office opposite the scene of today’s killing spoke in quiet tones about what they had seen as arrived on North Cumberland Street. One became emotional as he recalled what happened – allowing his friend to take up the account of the chaotic gun murder.

A short distance away, a bus driver sat with his head in his hands speaking with one of the dozens of gardaí tasked with taking accounts from witnesses, locals and others who were at the scene around the time of the shooting.

Gareth Hutch, a nephew of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, was shot multiple times in the grounds of Avondale House flats – apparently on his way to talk to a local welfare officer about moving to a more secure home.

The two gunmen fled in a waiting car, the witnesses gathered across the street said – adding that a group believed to be relatives of the victim arrived at the scene just as emergency services got there.

They were crying as initial treatment was given, one witness said.

A man who had been with Gareth Hutch gave chase as the assailants fled on foot, they added, but he gave up as the vehicle sped away. A gun that had been dropped during the chaos was later recovered by gardaí, it’s understood.

‘Murder gangs on the streets’ 

North Inner City residents have been left feeling abandoned by the government, local representatives said today.

This is the fifth fatal shooting this year in the wider north city area connected with violence between the Hutch and Kinahan crime gangs. A total of seven people have lost their lives in an intensification of violence between the two sides since September of last year.

Four men – including 24-year-old Martin O’Rourke, who had no links to the criminal underworld – have been killed in the area of the city between Ballybough, Sheriff Street and Parnell Street in recent months.

Those attacks followed the killing of Kinahan associate David Byrne during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in nearby Whitehall. / YouTube

Councillor Nial Ring, who spoke to the victim only yesterday, insisted that any similar outbreak of gun violence in another part of the country would have been met with a major crackdown by authorities.

It certainly wouldn’t happen in Foxrock, I don’t think it would happen in Mayo where the Taoiseach is from.

“The people in this area – 99.9 per cent of them are decent people who just want to go about their business and about their everyday life without having this visited on us time and time again and more and more frequently.

It’s just no way for a community to live.

map_export_1 Google Maps / Google Maps / /

Gareth Hutch had come to his office yesterday seeking a more secure place to live, Ring told reporters gathered at the Garda cordon this afternoon.

His main concern was his young son, who stays with him. He didn’t want anything to happen while [the child] was in the flat.

He may have been on the way to an appointment with a welfare officer to discuss housing arrangements this morning, Ring added.

What an absolute shock that somebody can be in your constituency office one day and shot the next day. That shouldn’t be a way to live.

This morning’s shooting happened well within earshot of the O’Connell Street area. Tourists leaving a hotel close by said they had heard nothing about the attack.

Passers-by asked what had happened, as more and more reporters gathered at the still cordoned-off street. None were particularly shocked, when told – although some older residents who had gathered in the sunshine were visibly angry. “The fellas doing this aren’t men,” one said.

Familiar pattern 

Gary Gannon, another local councillor, insisted a new approach was needed to rehabilitate the North Inner City – an area known for its high rates of poverty and unemployment.

“I’m angry about it. You’re looking at a situation where the state has lost control of an area,” Gannon said.

There are literally murder gangs on the streets and gangs operating with impunity.

“What will happen is the ERU will be in the streets, there’ll be checkpoints and there’ll be bravado statements about the strength of the gardaí – and a couple of weeks from now someone else is going to get shot.

Of course we need to be getting into these gangs’ faces but we need to look at why this is happening and examine the lack of education and the lack of opportunity. We need to have a more mature conversation.

Read: The Hutch-Kinahan feud: a timeline >

Read: Inner city shooting: Gareth Hutch gunned down at flats complex >

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