Traffic policeman injured in shooting

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A police officer was shot and injured in the heart of Dublin's financial district today, a garda source confirmed.

The regional traffic unit garda was shot after stopping two men in a car at Ossory Road, near the Irish Financial Services Centre, shortly after 9am.

A garda source said: "I understand one of our traffic officers on a bike stopped two men in a car and one of them got out and fired a shotgun at him and hit in him in the chest."

The uniformed motorcycle garda officer was taken to the Mater Hospital in Dublin's north inner city, where he is in a stable condition.

The men in the car - which had been stolen in the last few days - sped off immediately after the shooting and abandoned the vehicle nearby.

It is believed they then transferred to a white van and escaped from the area.

Sergeant Gerry Curley, of the Garda Press Office, said: "A uniformed member of An Garda Siochana was shot this morning shortly after 9am while on duty.

"A passenger got out of the car and shot the member at close range.

"He has been taken to the Mater Hospital, where his condition is described as stable."

The stolen car was recovered a short distance from the financial district, in St Barnabas Road.

Several roads around the north inner city area have been sealed off and a garda checkpoint has been set up on the East Link Bridge.

The shooting comes against a background of growing concern over a surge in gun crime and gangland violence in the Republic.

Last night, Assistant Garda Commissioner Al McHugh, who is responsible for the Dublin city metropolitan area, briefed politicians on gangland crime in the city.

The senior garda officer met the city council's Joint Policing Committee (JPC) and heard councillors call for police to help those communities at the mercy of criminals.

The shooting of the garda officer comes only days after the murder of man shot and set ablaze in the Finglas area of north Dublin.

Investigating officers believe the murder of 37-year-old Derek Duffy, from St Attracta's Road in Cabra, on Sunday morning may be drug-related.

The victim was shot in the head as he sat in the passenger seat of his car in Casement Park at around 4am, before the killers sprayed flammable liquid into the car and set it on fire.

Neighbours fought through the flames in a vain attempt to rescue the man.