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Don't let serial killer suspect live near us, plead Dublin families

FAMILIES in Dublin's north inner city are fighting to stop a new ex-prisoners' centre being built -- because they fear sex offenders and drug dealers will be using it.

A centre for the probation of ex-prisoners is currently being built in the old Roches Stores warehouse on Wolfe Tone Street -- and residents are furious because they say they were not informed about the project.

They fear drug dealers and sex offenders who have been released from prison will be rehabilitated close to their homes and will pose a threat to their families. And locals are terrified that notorious rapists Larry Murphy and Michael Murray will be among the first catered for there.

Murphy is due for release during the summer while Murray has been back on our streets since last year.

Locals have been holding a number of protests, including a large gathering last night.

Catherine Wilson said: "They're building the facility across the road from us on Wolfe Tone Street and it's going to be a rehabilitation centre for ex-prisoners.

"We are afraid it will be used for sex offenders and it will be a methadone clinic as well. We're very scared."

Works began on the centre in January and it is expected to be completed in May.

"They're telling us that there's not going to be drugs or sex-offenders, but we believe there will be. We're trying to stop it altogether."

The project, which is funded by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, will aim to help prisoners break the cycle of reoffending and to reintegrate into the wider community through education and life skills development.

Elderly residents are also fearful about the new centre. Frank Lynan (73) said: "I'm annoyed that they even consider opening a centre like that in the area."

The Bridge Project, currently in Parnell Street, has been operating in Dublin for the past 15 years and residents insist it should stay in its current location. A Department of Justice spokesman refused to confirm or deny if the project would cater for sex offenders who have been released from prison.

Meanwhile, enforcement officers from Dublin City Council have inspected the building on Wolfe Tone Street but are powerless to intervene, the Herald has learned.

A Herald investigation has discovered that the current planning permission for the premises stipulates that it can be used for storage only.

And Dublin City Council has confirmed it has not received an application for a change of use that would allow a rehabilitation centre to be set up.