Gardaí closed off a street in Limerick after reports that a man had barricaded himself into a building with a child hostage.
About 20 gardaí, including the armed Regional Support Unit, detectives, and uniformed officers, set up camp outside the apartment on John St as a tense stand-off ensued.
Specially-trained gardaí were deployed at around 3pm. A senior garda also confirmed a trained negotiator was deployed to try and talk the man down.
A senior garda, trained to deal with sieges, was also drafted in to assist local officers.
Locals in the residential area said the man had threatened to throw a child out of the window. However, gardaí later said the man was alone in the apartment.
Armed with blow torches, battering rams, and hammers, gardaí kept watch as negotiations with the man continued well into the night.
Gardaí ordered business-owners on the street to close up early, informed residents to stay indoors, and traffic was diverted away from John St.
Gardaí also closed off access to streets in the area, including Grattan St and Davitt St.
According to gardaí the man, aged in his 40s and from Limerick City, had barricaded himself into the apartment when he re-entered the dwelling after earlier been evicted.
Gardaí said the man had secured accommodation at the apartment above Treaty Fireplaces & Stoves, through the Novas social inclusion group.
“It seems he went back into the apartment to get some property he said he owned and he barricaded himself in then,” said a Garda source.
“He’s threatening self-harm if anyone tries to come in.”
Reports of a child having been in the apartment were quashed by a Garda source last night.
“Those reports are false. There was no one else in the apartment with him,” said the source.
Novas is a non-profit organisation working with families, single people, and unaccompanied minors who are disadvantaged or socially excluded. It works primarily with those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless or who have addiction problems. Calls to Novas yesterday went unanswered.
At 6.30pm gardaí on the street engaged the man in conversation as he smoked a cigarette at a window on the second floor of the building.
Gardaí were seen engaging with the man again at 8pm.
Armed officers were also seen entering a nearby dental clinic as negotiations continued last night.