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Sunday 19 November 2017

Revealed: Gang rivals planned for Garda strike bloodbath

City criminals plotted robberies and murders

A machine gun found in a raid in Cabra, north Dublin Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
A machine gun found in a raid in Cabra, north Dublin Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

Dublin gangs were preparing to carry out a multiple murder attack and a wave of robberies during the proposed Garda strike, sources in the force say.

Gardai believe that two sub-machine guns and three handguns were to be used, possibly in an attack on a pub or other location where gang rivals were gathered during the one-day stoppage which was called off only after a last-minute deal on overtime.

It had previously been reported that the weapons found in a house in Cabra, north Dublin, were to have been used on the Saturday after the proposed strike.

But sources now say they believe the intention was to strike on the day of the strike, last Friday week.

Read more: GRA sets out 54 reasons to accept deal...but garda views are mixed

Other intelligence reaching gardai in the aftermath of the suspended industrial action indicated that young criminal gangs in the city were intent on a free-for-all robbery spree in the city centre. It is believed younger gangs had intended joining forces to attack and rob pubs, restaurants and tourists in Temple Bar on the Friday night.

Intelligence reached gardai in the days before the proposed strike and it is understood this fed into the pressure on both sides to negotiate a settlement late on the Thursday night. Earlier in the day, both sides had agreed that armed garda units would be expected to agree to avoid strike action and be on duty in the event of outbreaks of serious violence.

Sources said there were no contingency plans in place to deal with a serious outbreak of violence.

If the strike and violence and large-scale robbery had gone ahead it could have caused serious damage to the country's image as a safe location for visitors, particularly if violence and robberies had been recorded on mobile phones and broadcast on social media.

Read more: Gardaí will be left to make up own minds over deal

The deal struck with the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) is said by sources to have been fairly well received in Dublin and among the new gardai who have had their annual €5,000 rental allowance returned.

The main additional payments are in the form of an additional €15 per day for members' 34 annual 'leave' days. Leave days are actually the gardai's holiday leave but in cases of emergencies all leave can be cancelled. A 'standy-by' payment because of this arrangement had long been sought by the GRA.

The other increase is in the form of raised overtime payments which would normally also be widely welcomed. But this, too, tends to favour gardai in Dublin where the bulk of overtime is paid.

GRA sources said there was still "intense" anger among gardai in rural divisions. The Cork division, which has been at the forefront of calls for industrial action and passed a 'no confidence' vote in previous Garda Commissioner Martin Callinanan in February 2013, is still said to be heavily in favour of industrial action.

Read more: GRA boss survives confidence motion

However, the intelligence and firearms seizures surrounding the planned gang violence during the one-day strike is now believed to be of sufficient seriousness to offset further attempts at all-out industrial action.

A key development in the negotiations was for the de facto recognition of the garda associations as unions which should make pay talks easier.

Sunday Independent

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