‘They waited until the guards were gone and then done it’

Locals say garda presence in Sheriff Street had reduced in recent days

Gardaí at the scene of the shooting on Dublin’s Sheriff Street. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Gardaí at the scene of the shooting on Dublin’s Sheriff Street. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

There was no through traffic into Sheriff Street in Dublin at lunchtime on Thursday. Gardaí were stopping and diverting cars and preventing pedestrians from walking close to the scene of the most recent shooting in the capital.

Beyond the darkening railway bridge, at the end of the grey, cobbled road, access from Commons Street was blocked with garda tape, and a lone garda was writing in his notebook the names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth of the pedestrians passing by.

At the other side of the crime scene, part of Mayor Street and Oriel Street were closed. A blue tent was erected over the site of the shooting, a few yards from Noctor’s Pub, and close to the intersection of Sheriff Street, and Oriel Street.

An old woman with a walking aid said she heard the shots. “At half twelve, I just heard the banging when I was in my house, three times a bang, that’s all”.

Another woman said she saw the man on the ground and paramedics attempting to resuscitate him before they put him in an ambulance. The ambulance began to leave the scene, then stopped, before taking off again, sirens blaring.

Two women with children in buggies, talking on the steps outside a house on Oriel Street, said they didn’t see anything.

“Just the sirens is all we heard, and you get used to that going around,” one woman said. Asked if they might say more, they both shook their heads.

“It’s not that simple here, you just can’t, and you’re looking to see if there is anybody watching you talking,” the other woman said.

Nearby, three young men stood close to the garda tape, and watched. Gardaí had not been as visible in the area in the last two weeks, one said.

“They were everywhere, now it’s just a few checkpoints.”

“Them fellas aren’t stupid,” his friend said.

“They waited till the guards weren’t on the street anymore and then done it.”

Outside J & A Stores, on Seville Place, not far from the scene, another woman, who works locally, stood with a friend. “Mistaken identity is what I was told, unfortunately, the poor man,” she said.

“You just don’t know do you? It was broad day light. I have a two-year-old in the crèche as well, it’s horrible.”

She said her heart went out to the family.

Her friend agreed.

“It could be your son, my son walking down the road and he gets shot for little or nothing,” she said.

“There’s not enough police on the roads.”

Two men were putting up green, white and orange bunting on the corner, as part of a celebration for the local St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band and its links to the men of the Easter Rising.

“I’m just worried about my kids, they go to school around the corner,” said one man.

There are three national schools in the locality, none of them very far from the scene.

“Where were the guards?” he asked.

One man, near the Commons Street junction, shouted at a garda when he heard there had been another shooting.

“Do yis know what yis should do? Yis should just step back and let them kill each other; then they’d be gone.”