Clondalkin councillors ask Ministers to drop ‘gangland’ term
Letter to Minister for Justice raises fears about the neighbourhood’s reputation
Flowers at the scene near Esker Glebe, in Lucan Co. Dublin this morning where Neil Reilly was attacked and died after a car chase in the early hours of last Wednesday morning. Photograph: Collins
Councillors in Clondalkin want Minister for Justice and her Government colleagues to stop using the term “gangland” because of the negative connotations it has for their area of west Dublin.
A motion to write to the Minister seeking the Government to “refrain from using the term ‘gangland crime’ when talking about incidents in Clondalkin” was passed unanimously at a meeting this week.
“We are trying to not be labelled as a gangland area,” said Mark Ward, the Sinn Féin councillor who tabled the motion. “The north inner city has been labelled as gangland and it affects people’s perception of the area.”
Four murders have been linked to the Clondalkin area since Halloween, with the most recent occuring in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a shooting incident in Ronanstown led to the death of Neill Reilly in a violent incident in Lucan.
A number of other killings, often related to drug disputes, have taken place in the area in recent years and Mr Ward said dismissing them as “gangland incidents” mitigates the responsibility of the authorities to address the situation.
“This is no reflection on the work the guards are doing,” he added. “They are doing their best” but they are struggling with a lack of resources and support in the area.
He said the term is used particularly in the media and by elected reperesentatives, not just the Government. He said labelling violence as “gangland” simplifies the complex reasons why gun crime is more prevalent in poorer areas.
Mr Ward said locals in Clondalkin are not seeing enough action to tackle minor problems around issues such as scrambler motorbikes, drug dealing and joy riding. He said this gives an impression of lawlessness in the area and feeds into more serious criminality such as gun violence.
He said Clondalkin has many positive aspects, including a strong sense of community, but these are being overshadowed by recent incidents. “Since Halloween it seems to be one thing after another with these murders,” he said.
The decision to pass the motion discouraging use of the term “gangland” and to provide more Garda resources for Clondalkin was passed by all seven councillors present at the area committee meeting. The councillors were from Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, People Before Profit and one Independent.