Gardaí praises community help to help defuse tensions during Hutch-Kinahan feud



A senior investigator praised the communities of north Dublin city center for helping Gardaí bring the Hutch-Kinahan “powder keg” feud under control.

Store Street Garda Station Superintendent Paul Costello said Gardaí could never be satisfied with the feud, which left 18 people dead, but added that the situation is currently under control.

At the height of the feud, An Garda Síochána’s armed response units were a familiar sight patrolling the northern city center. In 2016 alone, there were ten gang murders.

“In terms of controlling this situation, it was all due to the commitment of the community. The community couldn’t stand it. They turned to gardaí and we helped and contained the violence.

“We integrated into communities, doing threat assessments, doing armed patrols and just talking to people.

“This quarrel has not gone away. We cannot and will not be complacent about it. But the apprehension is gone,” he told the Independent Sunday.

“Everyone knows there are hard-to-reach people in the community who are involved. But generally, the community itself here can be credited with fixing what was going on itself and then gardaí provided some help.

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Superintendent Paul Costello of Store Street Guard Station

Superintendent Paul Costello of Store Street Guard Station

“But we’re still on high alert. The armed support is still there. It’s not as visual as it used to be. But the community needed to evolve from that, and it is. If you ask someone here, they’ll say, “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

Superintendent Costello added that “he bothers” that the downtown north is associated with the gang feud, but said community relations between gardaí and the locals are stronger than ever.

The senior officer was commenting on a new initiative involving Store Street Garda station – the Local Partnerships for Community Safety (LCSP).

Store Street station, along with Longford and Waterford stations, are participating in the three LCSP pilot projects. He recommends that a more concerted approach be taken by a range of state agencies to tackle issues that arise in the community, from drug addiction issues to drug trafficking.

LCSP Dublin North Inner City is chaired by an independent chairman, Cormac Ó Donnchú. Superintendent Costello praised the work done so far by the mainstay of GAA, who has extensive experience with businesses and nonprofits.

“Mr. Ó Donnchú has been very impressive in the work undertaken so far. The way I want it to be is that when gardaí has ​​to deal with a community problem that presents itself as a chaotic situation, the other state agencies are involved in a transparent way.

“Mental health is a big concern for us. If someone has a mental health problem, there should be no police intervention. We are of course here to help, but for that person’s sake other agencies should take the lead in their care. This approach would be much better for the person involved.

Through this new initiative, Gardaí at Store Street has helped build bridges in the community after tensions between Deliveroo’s drivers and some local people began to rise following a fatal road tragedy.

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Hundreds of people at the Speyer, Dublin, in September 2020 stood watch for 28-year-old Deliveroo cyclist Thiago Cortes


Hundreds of people at the Speyer, Dublin, in September 2020 stood watch for 28-year-old Deliveroo cyclist Thiago Cortes

Hundreds of people at the Speyer, Dublin, in September 2020 stood watch for 28-year-old Deliveroo cyclist Thiago Cortes

In August last year, Deliveroo Brazilian cyclist Thiago Cortes was killed at North Wall Quay when he was hit by a car driven by a recklessly driving teenager. The teenager, who left the scene, was then placed in juvenile detention for two years.

In the aftermath of the incident, hostilities between many Deliveroo drivers and local youths deteriorated as many bicycles belonging to mostly foreign Deliveroo workers were stolen.

“There was a problem with the theft of bikes. So we contacted the community and provided an engraving service so that we could identify their bikes if they were sold. They brought us their bikes. It was a way of building trust.

“There was also a football tournament organized by Dublin City Council to help improve relations with the community which really helped.

“There is a very diverse population in this region. Many new communities have made this region their home.

The senior garda said that “the community is at the heart of everything” in his bustling neighborhood. Gardaí is involved with local football and boxing clubs and regularly visits schools to give lectures to schoolchildren.

“I think the relationship is good between gardaí and the local community, and improving all the time. The pandemic has helped change perceptions of the gardaí. While we had to enforce the restrictions, we also helped by providing prescriptions and whatever was needed.

“I have enormous sympathy for the young people. The pandemic has been very difficult for them and still is.”

One of the objectives of the new LCSP initiative is for state agencies to take the initiative of An Garda Síochána in order to free up on-call time.

The results of the pilot projects will feed into the development of a new Police and Community Safety Bill that will redefine the functions of An Garda Síochána to include community safety.

Gardai nationwide says a significant amount of manpower is being used to help people in “mental health crisis” situations, when other agencies would be better placed to handle these situations.

“It is understood that the proposed legislation will oblige relevant departments, state agencies and local authorities to cooperate with An Garda Síochána to ensure the safety of the community,” said a spokeswoman for Garda.


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