Ring of steel in place as Minister makes armed gardai promise

A member of the Emergency Response Unit on the streets this week
A member of the Emergency Response Unit on the streets this week

A ring of steel is in place in Dublin's city centre this afternoon as the funeral of murder victim David Byrne (34) takes place.

Gardaí have stepped up armed patrols in the city today to deter any attempts to escalate the feud between two of the country's most lethal gangs at the funeral service.

Defence Forces are on standby to assist them in bomb sweeps around the city.

Armed checkpoints and patrols have been in place across the city since the Regency attack and the tit-for-tat murder of Eddie Hutch Senior in the north inner city last Monday.

But the armed Garda presence around Francis Street and in Crumlin, where Byrne and several of his associates either live or have connections, has been increased. Armed gardai were seen patrolling Francis Street minutes ahead of the funeral taking place.

The security operation is set to continue for the week.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said today that armed gardai will remain on the streets for as long as necessary.

She has told the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan that funding will be provided for officers to remain highly visible until the current threat of revenge attacks passes – and then beyond that, if required.

“The resources are there for that level of intensity for as long as she (the Commissioner) deems necessary,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

“The goal in the first instance is to avoid further death or trouble.”

She told the Irish Independent that “every possible precaution is in place to prevent further bloodshed” ahead of the funeral of Regency Hotel victim David Byrne today and Eddie Hutch Snr’s funeral later this week.

She continued: “The context here is that we are dealing with some very ruthless gangs and we’re in a revenge cycle.

“We don’t want any further examples of what has happened. It’s a very challenging situation for An Garda Síochána.”