‘In this day and age it’s all too common unfortunately’: Ronanstown residents react to fatal shooting

Garda ‘crime scene’ tape has cordoned off the entrance to Cormac Berkeley’s home, which had Christmas decorations in windows and a wreath on the front door

Residents living close to the scene of Dublin’s latest gang-related killing, in Ronanstown, west Dublin on Monday night, were not overly surprised by the shooting as many have experienced violence in the area.

Describing the fatal attack on Cormac Berkeley, in the driveway of his home on Harelawn Park many said it was “very sad”, “disgraceful” and “not acceptable”.

Berkeley was shot dead as he got out of his car, a British-registered, black Toyota land-cruiser, and appears to have staggered from the vehicle before collapsing near the house’s front door. Gardaí say the victim was shot “up to eight times” before his attacker fled.

His partner, who works in childcare, was in the house at the time. It is not clear if their young child was also in the house.


Garda ‘crime scene’ tape cordoned off the entrance to the home, which had Christmas decorations in windows and a Christmas wreath on the front door, as forensics specialists in white suits arrived and left. Shortly before 12.30 pm the car in which Berkeley was shot was recovered from the scene, leaving a large pile of shattered window-glass on the ground.

One woman in her 50s, living across the road, said she had been watching television when she heard shots on Monday night. “I walked out to the door and [his partner] was out screaming, devastated. I cried myself,” she said, becoming upset. She was one of several who said Berkeley had been a “lovely, lovely fella”.

A woman walking on nearby Harelawn Avenue said such violence was “nothing unusual. My husband had his faced sliced in September, at the front door”. She advised: “You won’t get many people talking around here. They keep to themselves.”

Her advice was echoed a number of times, with the majority of those invited to give their reaction choosing not to talk, or saying they were “in a hurry”.

One woman in her 30s said: “I heard it but just thought it was fireworks. You get immune to it. S**t like that happens around here all the time. You just mind your business, don’t get involved in other people’s stuff. It’s more peaceful that way.”

Another younger woman, walking in Harelawn Green said it was, “not really a shock that something like that would happen in this area”.

An older man who stopped to watch the forensics specialists at work sighed. “In this day and age it’s all too common unfortunately”. Asked what Harelawn were like to live in he said it was “generally it’s quiet”.

He continued: “You would have the odd murder here and there, but not the way it’s gone now. It’s on the increase ... Everything is drug related. You see small little dealings ... lots of kids running around, selling their little packets but the guards are aware of them. It’s a thing you see every day”.

The immediate area around Harelawn is, according to Pobal’s deprivation index, “very disadvantaged” with a male unemployment rate of 41.3 per cent, where 32 per cent of adults have a primary education only and just 7.8 per cent third level education.

A woman in her 50s said she kept to herself generally, though her neighbours were “fantastic”. She didn’t know Berkeley but was “so sad for his family”.

“You hear about drugs in Foxrock too. It wasn’t people in Harelawn who started the drugs. It was people with big names and big money. People around here are their pawns, God love them,” she added.

“When you are writing this,” she added, “please be kind to the families. They are going through a lot, and in the mouth of Christmas.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times