'My old neighbours are scared to go out' - Sheridan
Acclaimed director Jim Sheridan said he is deeply saddened by the ongoing gangland feud between the Hutch and Kinahan gangs that has erupted in his old neighbourhood.
The 67-year-old is the eldest of seven siblings who grew up in a modest house on Seville Place in Dublin's north inner city.
Despite his success as Ireland's most prolific film maker - with six Oscar nominations to his credit for such films as My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father, The Field and In America - Sheridan has never forgotten his roots.
Over the last year, the area has been blighted by an unprecedented wave of gangland violence.
Speaking to the Herald at the opening of the Dublin Arabic Film Festival - which he curated - on Friday night, Sheridan said he is still in touch with his old friends and neighbours from the area, whom he said are "all upset and scared to go out" following the spate of gangland murders in the area.
While he said his old stomping ground around Sheriff Street was always a bit of a war zone, he said he is dismayed by the gangs' brutality during the feud which has claimed 10 lives so far.
"It's very upsetting but it's kind of about people who live outside Ireland and their interests are not in this country," he told the Herald.
"I think the people are fighting each other over territory outside of Ireland, drug control maybe, I don't know.
"But it's manifesting itself here and it's very sad. You'd like to see it end.
"It's just sad to see what's happening to that area of the city," he said.
"I love Ballybough, I love Sheriff Street. But sure there's been a war in Sheriff Street for years and years," he said.
It has been in and around Mr Sheridan's old street, Seville Place, where gardai have mounted heavily armed Emergency Response Unit (ERU) checkpoints to prevent further gangland violence since the Regency Hotel shooting spree.
Children are being forced to walk to school past armed gardai brandishing Koch MP7s - a new breed of so-called Personal Defence Weapon that can penetrate the type of body armour and armoured vehicles used by underworld thugs.
The checkpoints are part of round-the-clock patrols in the north inner city and south-west city where the Hutch and Kinahan gangs are based.
The government has intervened in the north inner city area and a task force is examining ways to improve the area.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has also spent time meeting community leaders there.