We can reveal that gardaí in Blanchardstown have built a profile on the leading figures of the gang and have photographs of “dozens” of youths, described as being black teenagers, all of whom they understand to have close ties with one another.
YOB FEARS Schoolboy gangs who are ‘terrorising’ west Dublin locals and targeting taxi drivers being ‘left to run amok’ by gardai.
The teenage thugs, who are moving through Blanchardstown and out to north county Dublin, have been behind a number of vicious assaults, robberies and even threats on the lives of gardai in recent months.
The fearless yobs are “arrested every week” for violent incidents such as assault causing harm, possession of offensive weapons, violent disorder and criminal damage, according to sources.
And politicians in the areas say gardai risk setting off “a mini riot” every time they decide to put their foot down and arrest one of the youths.
Last week two leading members of the crew threatened and robbed a taxi man using an imitation firearm in the Clonee area, getting away with a smartphone and a small sum of cash, leading to drivers boycotting the area in fear for their lives.
We can reveal that the gang, with African origins, are running rampant in communities all over the capital, with gardai insisting “they don’t fear or respect us anymore”.
A source told the Irish Sun: “In the last two months gardai have linked the gang in question to 40 robberies from shops and other establishments and almost 30 robberies on person where iPhones, wallets and jewellery have been stolen. Particular areas hit badly by the crew are Mulhuddart, Ongar, Tyrrelstown and Clonee, but this is spreading rapidly across the city.
“The problems gardai are facing from this gang, or number of gangs, all over the city are extraordinary.
“The youths are moving between Blanchardstown and north county Dublin, wreaking havoc wherever they go.
“It’s become quite bad in Balbriggan and the surrounding areas. Sometimes there could be one officer on duty to deal with the entire area so when they get a call for one of these incidents they have to ignore it because it’s just too dangerous.
“It’s like, through no fault of the gardai, these thugs have free reign to terrorise the locals knowing that they’ll likely have all the time in the world to do what they’re doing and get away with it.
“There are three or four members of one particular gang arrested every week and up in court all the time for various anti-social offences before they invariably end up back on the streets running riot in no time at all.
“Just before Christmas five of them assaulted an innocent passer-by and made threats to kill against the arresting garda. There’s no fear or respect for gardai anymore.
“It ranges from shouting and intimidating old people in large groups to assaulting and robbing people of all ages, often with deadly weapons such as large knives.
“It’s not just vulnerable OAPs suffering here, innocent kids are afraid to go out and play. Gardai had to respond to one incident in Swords where a 14 year-old boy was stripped down to his pants at knife point on the street just so they could rob him and ridicule him at the same time, that’s what you’re dealing with here.”
Although Blanchardstown has seen the worst of the violence in recent weeks, local gardai have been provided with significantly greater resources to deal with the problem, including an entire task force designated to control the youths.
A source said: “In Tyrrelstown there is a full time operation in place daily just for this particular group of teens.
“They may be teenagers in age but they are big strong men in size and are not afraid to flex their muscle to anybody, including gardai.
“The majority of these guys are going to school by day but come night time and the weekends they are running amok and intimidating locals of all ages in massive groups.
“The problem is arguably bigger in Balbriggan because there’s so few gardai in place to deal with it so they get away with far more.
“Local politicians are getting regular complaints and community gardai are doing all they can to get some help.”
Fianna Fail TD Jack Chambers has described the situation as “very serious” and told how a number of Blanchardstown residents have contacted him to say they are afraid to leave their homes at night.
Mr Chambers told the Irish Sun: “This is something we are taking extremely seriously in Blanchardstown because it is a major problem.
“I have contacted the Chief Superintendent to set up a meeting to voice my concerns and the concerns of the locals. There are genuine fears amongst residents after a number of violent incidents.
“People are very much living in fear, scared to leave their homes or send their kids out to play and this needs to change.
“We’re not talking about isolated incidents here, a number of people have been seriously injured and mugged, so I’m liaising with gardai to try and rectify this very serious issue.”
Independent Councillor in Balbriggan Tony Murphy said the gang’s lack of respect for the gardai is a major problem, but thinks much of the anti-social behaviour comes down to “cultural differences”.
Gardai are so under resourced here the problem can only go one way. We’ve even got different gangs coming in from other areas who don’t even live here and I know it’s the same elsewhere.
Independent Councillor Grainne Maguire
Cllr Murphy told the Irish Sun: “This problem has two elements behind it, the lack of resources at gardai’s disposal and the fact that we have the youngest population in the country, which is bound to lead to more anti-social behaviour.
“These kids today have a very different mind-set to previous generations, they have no fear in terms of challenging gardai, it’s just a completely different attitude.
“They can be verbally abusive towards officers and I think it’s because they know that the garda’s hands are tied with little or no back up available.
“Gardai know now that if they decide to make a statement and show who’s in charge by arresting one of them and bringing them in, they risk watching a mini riot break out.
“I think certain areas get more coverage than others though. There are similar problems all over the country that go unreported, and it’s often not as bad here as people make out.
“It’s important to remember that there was a rapid change in the social environment here and maybe older people are becoming intimidated by the size of the gangs on the streets even though they’re not always trying to cause any harm.
“Cultural differences might mean a gang of teenagers may not feel the need to step aside as an old lady walks by, or lower their voices late at night.”
Fellow Independent Councillor Grainne Maguire added: “There is a lot of anti-social behaviour around the area and in surrounding areas and it is only going to get worse.
“Gardai are so under resourced here the problem can only go one way. We’ve even got different gangs coming in from other areas who don’t even live here and I know it’s the same elsewhere.”