The family home of a man murdered in a worsening gangland feud in Dublin has been firebombed in an attack gardaí believe is linked to the dispute.
Gardaí are fearful the weekend arson attack, in which the mother of the feud’s first murder victim was targeted, will result in multiple revenge incidents.
The latest violence between the rival factions in Finglas, north Dublin, occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning on Barnamore Crescent when a house owned by murdered James Whelan's mother was attacked.
The fire caused extensive damage to the property, with the front of the house gutted and the interior also suffering fire and smoke damage as the flames spread. Two vehicles parked outside the house, a Lexus taxi and a van, were also significantly damaged by the fire.
Gardaí are trying to establish if the attackers also deliberately set the vehicles on fire as the house was being attacked.
In reply to queries, a statement from Garda Headquarters confirmed its members responded to reports of the fire and that investigations are ongoing.
“Emergency services also attended the scene. Damage was caused to the entrance of the property and two vehicles parked nearby,” it said. “No injuries were reported by the occupants of the premises.”
After the attack on the Phelan house in the early hours of Saturday, a second attack occurred in the Casement area of Finglas just after 11pm on Saturday.
That attack, which is also believed to be linked to the feud, resulted in fire damage being caused to the home of a family with no involvement whatever in crime.
Garda headquarters confirmed that second attack, a home in Finglas on Saturday night. “The fire was extinguished by Dublin Fire Services. The scene was preserved for a technical examination by investigating gardaí. Investigations are ongoing,” it said.
Garda sources said the feud was now of major concern to the force as it involved two large groups of young men all living in Finglas and who had access to firearms.
They added some of the older men in the groups, who were in leadership positions, had proven adept at recruiting young boys into their ranks who they could use to carry out attacks like that seen just before 2.30am on Saturday.
Mr Whelan (29), a father of one, was killed on the Deanstown estate in the early hours of April 3rd. He was once part of the main Finglas drug gang. However, that group has split into two factions in recent years and a feud has started between them.
A series of violent incidents – including grenade attacks and drive-by shootings at houses – began last year and has continued. Mr Whelan’s murder was the first fatality in the feud.