An angry crowd gathered outside an Irish government-run halfway house for ex-convicts last night amid speculation that freed rapist Larry Murphy was staying there.
The group of up to 60 protesters gathered outside Priorswood House in Coolock on Dublin's northside chanting “get him out”.
Gardai last night denied Murphy was staying at the Republic’s Department of Justice-built facility.
The director of Priorswood, Lisa Cuthbert, also insisted Murphy was not staying there.
“We understand the fear — it's perfectly natural — but this kind of response isn't helpful,” she said.
However, one local resident said people's fears were understandable after a number of alleged sightings of Murphy in the area.
“I can't understand why he was let out in the first place,” Eddie Mitchell said.
“Look at the reaction of the people here. I have two daughters aged 24 and 32. People are in fear.”
It took at least an hour before gardai eventually managed to disperse the crowd.
The tense incident, which highlighted public fears over Murphy's release, followed a dramatic day during which scores of officers and a Garda chopper were used to track his every move.
A senior Garda source said his current location was known to them and that he was under observation. However, gardai have admitted they will not be able to monitor his movements 24 hours a day.
Murphy (45) walked free from Arbour Hill prison in Dublin yesterday morning after serving just 10-and-a-half years of a 15-year sentence for the rape, abduction and attempted murder of a young businesswoman.
Murphy's release sparked outrage and a major debate over automatic 25% remission for inmates for “good behaviour”.
While in jail, Murphy refused to undergo any sex offender treatment programme or show any remorse. He also remains a suspect in the disappearance of three women from different locations around Leinster during the 1990s.