By Joyce Fegan
A 15-hour stand-off between a convicted rapist and An Garda Síochána, which brought a Dublin suburb to a standstill, has come to a peaceful end.
A man in his mid-40s barricaded himself into a property in Lucan yesterday morning, armed with a firearm and a replica gun, and gardaí spend until midnight last night negotiating with him.
The man has been arrested and is currently in custody.
"A Taser device was used and the matter has been referred to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)," a garda spokesman said.
While the incident started at around 7am yesterday morning and was resolved at midnight, a media blackout was in place, so no reporting of the event was possible. The blackout has since been lifted.
The sex-offender, who caused the major security alert in the busy Lucan housing estate, received a lengthy sentence in 2004 for a serious crime in which his victim feared she would die.
Locals alleged that yesterday's incident was triggered by graffiti written close to the property where the man was living.
Several roads around the area were closed off yesterday as members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and the Armed Support Unit (ASU) were dispatched to the scene. Trained negotiators were also dispatched and gardaí lined the streets as the situation unfolded.
Up to 100 residents, including young children, were gathered on the cordoned off roads, watching events unfold all day long yesterday. Many of them knew the man in question.
"He was hanging out the window from 7.30am in the morning shouting," alleged one nearby resident, who saw the initial event take place.
Several young women watched throughout the day with their babies and toddlers as armed units from An Garda Síochána surrounded the man's house. Some of the young women knew the man to see and said they were aware of his conviction for rape.
"I'm not afraid of him, but we don't talk to him and I don't let her (the woman's young daughter) out that gate. Everyone knows him around here, and what he did, but no one talks to him," a local woman said.
Another woman, who also has children but who are older in age, said she had reared her family in the area and was aware of his criminal conviction, and subsequent release from prison.
"...You can do what you like to yourself, but you can't do anything to anyone else's body. I don't care, you just can't. It's awful what he did," she said.
Other mothers were concerned with how their children would react when they arrived home from school to see the live situation with armed gardaí.
"My child already has anxiety and he's only six years of age, I don't know what he's going to do when he sees this," said a young mother at the scene.
Locals closer to the man's home hung from their windows watching the situation unfold while also filming it on their phones.
A birthday party was going on at a nearby home in the midst of the stand-off with a dozen helium balloons and a cake being passed up along the road by the cordoned off area.
By about 6pm last night, An Garda Síochána seemed to escalate their efforts to negotiate with the man and ladders were seen being brought from one of their vans towards the property.
At 8pm a firework went off in the area, which locals thought was a gunshot at first.
It is understood the situation was resolved by midnight.