Residents of a public housing complex in Rialto, south Dublin, have criticised Gardaí plans to carry out on-site training in one of the empty blocks which would entail “noise that will sound like gunshots”.
Dublin City Council informed the community group in Dolphin House on Wednesday morning that the Garda emergency response unit will be carrying out “on-site training” in a partially empty block inside the flats complex on Thursday, for a period of almost four hours.
“The training will involve some noise. The City Council have been informed that the noise will sound like gunshots,” a social media post by the community centre said.
“They will be in unmarked Garda vehicles and will be parked inside and outside the security fencing at the long blocks. The access gate will be locked.”
Resident Veronica Lally said she was “disgusted” that residents were not informed of the plan.
The training would be taking place between 2:30pm-6pm at “the time when kids are coming home from school.”
“I’m absolutely stunned. I’m stuck for words that we wouldn’t be told about this. People in a nice private area wouldn’t have to worry about things like this happening so why do we have to? I’d have thought the guards would have places like that to do their training where people aren’t living,” she said.
‘Out of the ordinary’
Local councillor Darragh Moriarty said it was “out of the ordinary” for such a thing to happen in a residential area and to be “this hastily organised at short notice”.
“Typically there’s a leaflet that would go around to residents whenever something is happening in the flats, like filming. But I’ve never heard of this happening before. When some of the residents were told this morning there was negative feedback,” he said.
“This wouldn’t happen in private complexes so why should these residents be subjected to it? Residents deserve more notice because it’s not just one hour of training, it’s several hours.”
Mr Moriarty said “a significant number of residents” would not know about the training and potential “gunshot” sounds because they’re not on social media.
A spokesman for An Garda Síochána said a “routine Garda training exercise” was planned for Thursday at a flat complex in Dublin 8. It would take place on “a secure unoccupied site”, the spokesman said.
The “long block” in Dolphin House flats complex is partially vacant on one end and is now cordoned off by a gate. However, residents complained that those living at the other end of the block, or in surrounding blocks, would still be able to hear the noise from the training and “wonder what’s going on”.
“Just because that part is empty doesn’t mean the residents in the other blocks won’t hear it and be worried,” Ms Lally said, adding that residents were left to tell each other by “word of mouth” rather than official notice.
“We weren’t asked about this. It’s disgusting,” she said.
Dublin City Council did not respond to requests for comment.