‘You’d be afraid of your life with all these shootings’

Local Independent councillor Nial Ring says shock in the north inner city turning to anger


Gardaí directed traffic around a cordoned off area outside the Sunset House pub on Summerhill Parade in Dublin on Tuesday morning, the scene of the capital’s latest gangland shooting.

Michael Barr was shot in the pub in the north inner city at about 9.30pm on Monday night.

Mr Barr had addresses in the area in the past and also in Ballymun. He had been acquitted of terror-related charges when brought before the courts. His home was searched last week as part of the inquiry into the murder of David Byrne (33), from Crumlin, in the Regency Hotel in February.

A garda technical team was working in and around the pub on Tuesday morning as locals gathered in groups, asking each other what the world was coming to while others blessed themselves as they passed by.

One man on his way to work said the shooting was shocking. “It could be anyone. You could be in a shop buying a paper and then….”

Another man bringing his granddaughter to school said people in the area were afraid. “It’s mad the way it’s gone with all these shootings. You’d be afraid of your life.”

A third man agreed.

“I was on my way home from work at 6am. I didn’t know what had happened at first, I just saw all these gardaí. It is shocking. People are afraid.”

Others working in local businesses and bringing children to school were reluctant to speak.

“When you live around here for years and something like this happens...,” one man said, shaking his head.

Local Independent councillor Nial Ring told The Irish Times initial shock in the area was turning to anger.

“The anger is being directed at this circus going on, as I call it, of trying to form a government. They’re having this argument about the price of a glass of water instead of talking about the price of life or the price of people living in fear in their community.”

“There is this unease now as well as up to now the Kinahan Hutch feud was Kinahan Hutch. And now this idea that maybe there’s some dissident republican element going to come in as a third leg.. that’s what has people worried,” he said.

Mr Ring praised the relationship between the gardaí and the community in the north inner city.

“But the gardaí can’t be everywhere. It comes down to resources. Garda resources, the homeless and people on trolleys should be way ahead of the price of a glass of water in these negotiations,” he said.

“Two months without a government is just laughable. Psychologically people need leadership... It’s banana republic stuff. There’s bigger stuff going on than the price of water.”

Fianna Fáil justice spokesperson Niall Collins condemned the capital’s latest killings and called for renewed efforts to defeat organised crime gangs before the situation escalated even further.

“As I’ve often pointed out, we need a crime policy that’s ahead of the curve. We can’t allow this gangland feud to spiral further. Efforts to defeat it must be intensified.”

Sinn Féin deputy leader and Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald said the “carry on and thuggery” of gangs that style themselves as “dissident republicans” had nothing to do with politics or republicanism.

“I don’t like the term ‘gangland crime’ it glamourises this thuggery. Taking his life was wrong, it is a crime, there’s no justification for it. He was described as an IRA leader. The IRA is no longer active. The war is over. The IRA weapons have been decommissioned.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke Show she said that while gardaí will rightly say that certain categories of crimes levels are down, fear levels are up.

“We have a situation now where people who live around Summerhill, Ballybough, Sheriff Street, are afraid. There’s now a strong belief that these armed thugs are brazen enough to do pretty much anything.”

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin called for the chain of hate and evil to be broken. He said the tears of families who had once again lost loved ones would not be compensated for with more violence.

“Hatred and evil easily become a chain and those who resort to such violence feel that they are the strong ones. We need to form a strong alliance of all those who oppose violence on our streets. We cannot abandon the good honest men, women and children of parts of our inner city. The elderly live in fear. Their children are exposed to carnage on their streets,” he said.

Dr Martin said everyone had a responsibility in bringing violence to an end.

“Those who cultivate violence thrive on our silence. We have to unite to undermine them and their business and not close our eyes to what we know. There is plenty of intelligence on the streets; we need to create a culture which will enable those who have information to get that information to the gardaí,” he said.