Will same Garda resources be available once votes are cast?
Many gardaí believe gangland crime policing effort is result of pressure from Coalition
Armed gardaí from the force’s Emergency Response Unit on patrol in north inner Dublin as gang violence led to two murders in four days. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The need for teams of heavily armed gardaí, some wearing balaclavas, on the streets of Dublin has been the stuff of nightmares for the Government parties during the election campaign.
However, the real complexity of policing the gun feud that has claimed the lives of gangland figure David Byrne (33) and taxi driver Eddie Hutch (59) will only become apparent now that their funerals are over.
The last week has witnessed incredible scenes on the streets of Dublin.
Aside from the kind of policing checkpoints Dubliners are more used to seeing on their TV screens when tensions flare in Belfast or when extremists struck in Paris in recent years, the gangland funeral of David Byrne was unusual to say the least.
Garda members held up traffic for a fleet of 12 hearses and limousines to pass through streets during a funeral attended by sneering perma-tanned criminals who had flown in from Spain for the occasion. A group of about 30 men all dressed in the same clothing gave a paramilitary hue to the proceedings.
When policing the funerals, the Garda at least had a fix on the key locations to secure; two wakes, funeral parlours, churches, cemeteries, pubs – in that order.
However, with the main protagonists based in Dublin and southern Spain, the location and timing of further inevitable revenge attacks will be much more unpredictable, and therefore almost impossible to prevent.
Some of those responsible for the two murders have gone to ground.
The fleeing abroad of some of those suspected may calm the situation in Dublin for now, but it will also frustrate the Garda investigations.
Their going on the run also increases the likelihood they will be targeted by their rivals abroad, especially in Spain; something of a second home for many Dublin gang figures.
However, with leading members of the Kinahan gang apparently offering vast sums of money, in some cases running to six figures, to gunmen who would shoot dead those on the opposite side of the feud, the gang war looks set to worsen.
Many gardaí believe the policing operations of the past fortnight have been put in place only because senior Garda management is under immense pressure from the Government parties to contain the violence for the remainder of the election campaign.
And they question how long the same resources will be available once the votes are cast.