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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 5 December 2020

Dublin 8 crime spike as locals claim 'racist gangs' are selling drugs and stealing cars

Residents say they fear for their children’s safety.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

RESIDENTS ALONG POCKETS of Dublin 8 say they are living “under siege” as a wave of anti-social behaviour, joyriding, assaults and racial abuse has become rampant in the past six months. 

Residents in Rialto and Inchicore have described how their communities are being destroyed after an influx of drug dealers arrived in to the area. 

Open street dealing, car theft, assaults and robberies from the person have all been reported in the area. 

Locals have also reported that there has been racist abuse of people of colour on disembarking from the Luas.

Neighbourhood watch groups have formed in a number of estates in the area and incidents are now being logged with gardaí at Kilmainham station. 

Some of the incidents officially reported in the past nine months include: 

  • Assaults
  • Racial abuse
  • Joyriding
  • Car theft
  • Open drug dealing
  • Intimidation 
  • Harassment of women 
  • Theft from takeaway delivery drivers 

Gardaí believe that a significant portion of the incidents are the work of two convicted criminals who were both released from prison in the past year. 

The two men are suspected of involvement in the heroin and cocaine trade.

Earlier this year, a mother and her child had a very lucky escape after joyriders who had stolen a car crashed the vehicle into a pole right beside them. A video of that incident was uploaded to Instagram.

Last week, there were reports that a group of young teenagers robbed property from a member of the public at knifepoint.

Both these incidents happened in broad daylight. 

Garda patrols

Gardaí have in recent weeks increased the frequency of their patrols around the Reuben Street area as well as the canal following a spate of attacks on cyclists and public transport users. 

This has seen a reduction in reports of petty offences, according to locals. 

One woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told TheJournal.ie that the gangs of young men “have the place ruined”.

“First off I want to say this is a lovely community. But these guys aren’t from around here. They’re getting the Luas in and the guards think they come around here as it is so easy to escape from. There are roads and buses and the Luas as well. 

“These guys are blatantly dealing drugs. I mean it is so obvious when you see it. I’d be walking down here with my children and I don’t want them seeing that. I have lived here all my life and all I can see is it getting worse. 

“We had a public meeting here in January and it was a very good turnout. People are fed up. With all of these attacks, people are actually afraid to walk on the canal. It’s like we’re under siege. Everyone is afraid. People are fed up.

“It’s around the Luas especially. These are a racist gang. They hang outside the stop and then if someone gets off who isn’t white, they start shouting nasty, horrible things. I’ve seen it myself and it is just disgusting.”

Another resident of an estate which has now been plagued by anti-social behaviour said that he calls the gardaí on a regular basis to log all of the incidents with them. 

He said: “I know we need a bigger garda presence. I do feel sorry for them. They’re doing the best they can. But if you look around here, you can see they’re building loads of places so the population of this area is only going up. So, when they’re all done, are we going to have the same number of gardaí on the beat? I hope not.”

In January of this year, TheJournal.ie reported how a man was set upon by a gang of young people who had earlier insulted his wife. The incident happened at the same location where open drug dealing was spotted. It is suspected the same gang of youths carried out this attack. 

Both the victim and his wife were travelling on the Red Line Luas when a group of teenagers started to pass comment on what was in their shopping bags. 

According to the victim’s mother, the couple ignored the taunts and got off at their stop at around 5.20pm when they were followed by the group who then attacked the man from behind. 

Speaking about the spike in incidents, local councillor Tina McVeigh described how people are afraid to go on about their daily lives due to the incidences of violence. 

She told TheJournal.ie: “There is a general sense of people not feeling safe in the area. There has been an acknowledgment that something needs to be done on the canal areas and there is a need to invest in key supports, key social supports in the area and people who face challenges.

“We need to come back to pre-austerity investment.”

In December last year, a number of cyclists reported being attacked by a gang of teenagers, some of whom were armed with metal bars in the same area as January’s assault. 

One man described how they waited until he slowed to approach a squeeze stile that requires cyclists to dismount.

Yaman Umuroğlu, one of the men who was attacked, told RTÉ’s Liveline the incident happened along the cycle route approaching the Blackhorse Luas stop. He said he was set upon when he slowed to approach a squeeze stile that requires cyclists to dismount.

“So there was four or five 13 or 14-year-old teenagers waiting for me there with metal rods,” he said. “And first I thought they weren’t going to give me any trouble because I’ve seen kids like that hanging around there before.

So I just approached them thinking that they would just go away, but then they started beating with metal sticks and wanted my bike. They got my bike in the end and I hobbled on the Blackhorse Luas stop while calling the gardaí.   

In a statement at the end of last year, gardaí said had have received several reports of assaults in the area.

“As part of Operation ‘Open City’, which is currently ongoing, and in response to a number of recent incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour visibility of An Garda Síochána will be increased across Dublin including the Canal/Bluebell area,” gardaí said in a statement. 

“An Garda Síochána encourages anyone who feels they have been a victim of a crime to contact their local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.” 

TheJournal.ie has contacted gardaí to ascertain if the patrols are still ongoing. 

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