Gardai have raised concerns that unarmed officers are continuing to provide a 24-7 protection post near feud target Patrick 'Patsy' Hutch's home - despite the pressure on the force's resources caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of officers have expressed their "shock and bewilderment" that the north inner city home of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's older brother (60) is still being watched by unarmed officers who have been described as "sitting ducks" if an assassination attempt was to happen.
Our photo shows a garda car at the protection post on Wednesday evening - a situation that has been in place for four years since shortly after the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud kicked off.
It is understood that the post was ordered as the feud spiralled out of control after the Regency Hotel bloodbath.
Patsy's son Patrick (27) was charged with the murder of Kinahan cartel member David Byrne (34) in the Regency but his murder trial collapsed in the Special Criminal Court in dramatic circumstances last year.
Last night senior sources were unable to confirm reports that Patrick Hutch Jnr had visited his father on a number of occasions at the protected address.
"It is no exaggeration to say that the continuation of this protection post in the current climate that gardai are operating in with the health crisis in the country, it is causing shock and bewilderment to many gardai," one source said.
"It is not just rank-and-file members who are against it - plenty of senior people are as well.
"Those unarmed gardai are sitting ducks if anyone did decide to go up there to shoot him - what could they do in that circumstance?
"Plenty of gardai are wondering why this post takes priority over all the other people who are under threat in the north inner city or even across the city - they don't have gardai parked outside their homes on a constant basis.
"Instead of sitting on Champions Avenue watching Patsy's house, these gardai could be out stopping tourists getting robbed or other much-needed duties in the city centre."
The protection operation is being run by officers from Store Street Garda Station who have been managing the epicentre of the feud which has claimed up to 18 lives.
However, there has been no murders in the vendetta since the shooting of Hutch associate Jason 'Buda' Molyneux in January 2018.
Sources said a major reason for this has been a "hugely successful policing plan" operated by detectives in the north inner city who have been backed up by specialist garda units.
Patsy Hutch remains a prime target for what is left of the beleaguered cartel in the city - an organisation which gardai continue to dismantle with dozens of its senior and junior members now locked up in jail.
Patsy's son Gary became the first victim of the feud when he was shot dead in Spain by the cartel in September 2015.
Since then graffiti has been sprayed on walls in the north inner city on a number of occasions signalling that the gangland warfare will not end until Patsy is killed.
Despite the presence of gardai at his home, Patsy's life remains in grave danger and he has survived a number of assassination attempts.
In relation to one of these alleged murder bids, six men charged with conspiring to murder The Monk's brother appeared at the Special Criminal Court last month.