Lack of options leave young men in inner city ‘trapped’ in a life of crime
Hutch-Kinahan feud casting ‘cloud of fear’ over area, parish priest says
Mourners pictured outside the family home of Derek Coakley Hutch on Buckingham Street, Dublin on Tuesday evening for a prayer service for Hutch who was shot dead almost two weeks ago. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
The lifestyles of local drug dealers and the lack of other options open to young men growing up around criminal activity leaves many “trapped” in a life of crime, Maureen O’Sullivan TD for Dublin Central has said.
O’Sullivan said young men in the north inner city area see the wealth of drug dealers, their cars, and holidays abroad, and find it hard to resist the pull of the lifestyle. “Once you’re sucked into that it’s very hard to get out ... You can’t blame them” the local TD said. “We weren’t showing that crime doesn’t pay” she said.
She said it took the dramatic murders of the Hutch-Kinahan feud to wake people up to the “historic” problems of the area, which had been neglected for many years.
On Sheriff Street, a car from the garda armed unit slowly passes a group of 20 or so young men and teenagers. Several of the group are smoking weed, some are on push bikes, and a few have caps on to hide their faces.
“Sad isn’t it, it’ll never end,” said one young man when asked about the recent feud. The names and faces might shift, but crime itself has deep roots in the area, closely linked to problems of drug addiction and marginalisation.
The garda car beeps at the group as it passes by, a semi-automatic gun visible through the window. The young men stare it down and one spits on the ground as the car passes, all of them have had run-ins with the gardaí growing up, and some are involved in low level crime.
A few of the younger teenagers in the group would have moved on from hanging around with friends their own age and engaging in antisocial behaviour, to more serious petty crime with older groups.
For these lads who slip down the slope into small time crime as young teenagers, the process seems nearly inevitable. “He’ll be writing about you one day when you get shot down on some corner,” one of the young men remarks to his friend who is talking to this reporter. “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better,” is one of the older men in the group’s take on the gangland feud.
Barely 100 meters down the road and you are in the middle of the lunchtime rush of professional workers from finance and tech firms based in the IFSC, with both worlds seeming invisible to the other.
On Tuesday night a close group of family gathered for a small prayer service in the home of Noeleen Coakley-Hutch in Dublin’s north inner city, the mother of the latest victim of the Hutch-Kinahan feud.
Derek Coakley-Hutch (27), was killed in a gun attack at the Bridgeview halting site beside Cloverhill Prison on January 20th. He was the fourth member of the Hutch family to be shot dead in just over two years.
Fr Michael Casey, the local parish priest attended the small gathering, and will preside at the funeral mass of Derek Coakley-Hutch on Wednesday in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, on Sean McDermott St.
Cloud of fear
Fr Casey said the violence of a small group of individuals was casting “a dark shadow over the community” and an unsettling “cloud of fear.” The priest said most people in the area were just trying to get on with their lives.
Speaking ahead of the funeral mass he said the ruthlessness of the gangland violence was brought on by individuals who had “lost a sense of their own humanity.”
Earlier Joe McGarbey, who has lived in the north inner city for the last 30 years said he heard the gunshots ringing out from one of the gangland shootings, as he was walking near the Five Lamps on Amien Street. “I don’t like it, it’s frightening people,” he says. “I think the Government should do a lot more, because this feud is not over, it’ll never be over ’til they’re all dead.”