Cycle of ‘brutal violence’ by children groomed by criminal gang in Dublin 15, Dáil hears

TD appeals for urgent intervention and ‘influx’ of community gardaí as people forced to move from the area because of threats and intimidation

A double murder at a restaurant in Blanchardstown last Christmas Eve has led to a series of violent incidents in Dublin 15m according to Sinn Féin TD Paul Donnelly. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Urgent intervention is needed to combat the “cycle of brutal violence” in the Dublin 15 area, where many attacks are being carried out by young teenagers groomed by a criminal gang, the Dáil has heard.

Sinn Féin TD Paul Donnelly said he had lived in Dublin 15 for the last 30 years and “I have seen criminal gangs come and go. Unfortunately we are in another age and era where there is a cycle of brutal violence going on” in the locality.

He highlighted the double murder in a Blanchardstown restaurant last Christmas Eve and the resultant ongoing violence.

“Since then, more than a dozen houses have been burned, and were burned to the ground in some cases. Other people have been forced to leave because of threats and intimidation.


“That is continuing and ongoing to this day. Many of the attacks are being carried out by very young teenagers. They have been groomed over the last couple of years by this criminal gang.”

He said “we need to break the cycle, but we need to have that proper investment in our communities. We need early intervention and we need youth and drug services to be properly resourced”.

Mr Donnelly appealed to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to set up a taskforce similar to the one that was chaired by Kieran Mulvey, whose 2017 report proposed ways to deal with criminal gang violence and community deprivation in Dublin’s north inner city.

Mr Donnelly said he was hopeful a refocus on community gardaí could help. “We had a brilliant community policing section that was decimated during the austerity years,” he said, adding that “fantastic gardaí” in the area were under serious pressure.

He said an “influx” of more community gardaí is needed to deal with what is happening on the ground.

Ms McEntee said gardaí “are doing everything they can in the interim, as we focus on getting more gardaí” and said there has been a huge amount of investment in resources to support the gardaí in their work.

She added that there are new laws to criminalise the grooming of children. “We are rolling out support programmes to break the link between gangs and the children they try to recruit.”

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Ms McEntee said she is establishing a national office for community safety with “training, guidance and other supports for the local community safety partnerships”, which will have dedicated staff and teams. She hoped they would be up and running nationally “just beyond summer”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times