New Armed Support Unit for Dublin as part of response to gangland killings

Eddie Hutch Senior was killed in apparent retaliation for Regency Hotel shooting

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Garda officers attend the scene on Poplar Row, North Strand following the shooting dead of Eddie Hutch Snr Monday. Picture by: Brian Lawless / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A dedicated new Armed Support Unit is be established for Dublin, as part of a response to recent gangland killings.

It will be made up of 55 garda officers and operate in addition to the Emergency Response Unit.

This will be supported by an initial additional €5m to fund garda overtime.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald met this morning with the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and senior officers to discuss the response to two recent high-profile murders in Dublin city.

While Taoiseach Enda Kenny used a speech on the campaign trail to address the murder last night of Eddie Hutch Senior.

Gardaí say they believe four masked men were involved in the fatal shooting in Dublin last night.

Mr Hutch, who was in his 50s, was shot dead on Poplar Row in North Strand at around 7.45pm.

He was shot a number of times and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives are seeking the public's assistance in tracing the movements of a Silver 3-Series BMW.

It is believed the suspects arrived at the scene in this car, and gardaí say it was found abandoned on St Patrick's Parade in Drumcondra a short time later.

Mr Kenny whatever gardaí need to tackle this will be supplied.

Justice Minister Frances has denied that there was an intelligence failure in preventing the recent attacks.

Ms Fitzgerald says that gardaí are facing ruthless criminal gangs.

Meanwhile, the Garda Commissioner has confirmed they have been in contact with Spanish police as part of investigations into two fatal gangland shootings in recent days.

Ms O’Sullivan says that no resource is being spared during their investigations.

The Government has put €5m towards ‘saturation policing’ – with an armed response unit to be provided for the capital.

Commissioner O’Sullivan has said there was no specific intelligence suggesting a threat of violence at the boxing event last Friday, when David Byrne was killed. There has since been criticism of the Garda preparation and response to the incident.

“We cannot be every place that criminals are attending public events, so we prioritise deployment of our resources based on threat and intelligence," she said.

“If we had anything of those indications we would have had people there with the appropriate response,” she said.

“But we have combated and faced down threats such as this before.”

Sinn Féin had called for extra garda resources to be made available to crack down on organised crime.

The party made the call as it again proposed the abolition of the Special Criminal Court in its election manifesto.

The party also wants to reopen the closed garda stations and says it would hire 3,000 extra gardaí.

But deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald says voters are less interested in the Special Criminal Court, and more interested in bringing murderers to justice.

 Reports suggest that last night's shooting was in retaliation for the killing of David Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel last Friday.

The apparent gangland feud is suspected to involve drugs gangs in Ireland and Spain.

Professor of criminology and journalist Donal MacIntyre talks to the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk about where this feud may have come from.

While opposition parties earlier claimed there are not enough gardaí to tackle gangland crime.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman Niall Collins told Newstalk Breakfast that money was invested in the wrong parts of the civil service.