herald

Sunday 25 September 2016

Armed gardai break up gang brawl in city housing estate

Derek McLoughlin
Derek McLoughlin

Armed members of the Emergency Response Unit had to back up detectives when a brawl in a north Dublin housing estate threatened to turn in to a bloodbath.

Tensions remain high in the Ballymun area after Friday night's incident at Sillogue Park, with fears that there may be further violent incidents in the coming days.

The Herald can reveal that around 30 gardai, many of whom were armed, responded to a melee at around 9pm last Friday.

Sources said that the incident unfolded when a very close associate of Ballymun criminal Derek McLoughlin (51) tried to break up a fight between a group of young thugs.

It is understood that McLoughlin's associate was then allegedly "threatened with a blade".

This incident led to a stand-off between the men involved and both factions called for "back-up". A number of men then rushed to the scene, some even travelling from the north inner city, according to sources.

Violence

It is understood that burly hardman Derek McLoughlin arrived at the scene to support his close associate, but was not involved in any violence.

Meanwhile, a large group of onlookers gathered in the area as events threatened to spiral out of control.

However, gardai arrived on the scene in force, averting a large-scale gang fight.

It is understood that up to seven garda patrol cars and two Emergency Response Unit (ERU) jeeps responded to the tense situation. They were at the scene for some time before things calmed down. No one was injured and no arrests were made.

"This could have been a very, very serious situation if gardai had not responded as quickly as they did and in the numbers that they did," a source said.

"As it was, [things] passed off without incident, but gardai are continuing to monitor things to see if there is any fall-out from it," the source added.

Derek McLoughlin had a lucky escape on May 14, 2013, when a handgun was pointed at him while he sat behind the wheel of his car outside a shopping centre in Swords. Fortunately for McLoughlin, the would-be killer's gun jammed,

Former soldier McLoughlin, who lives in Balbriggan, was given a four-year suspended sentence for attacking a man and head-butting a garda at Ballymun Tower Centre on July 16, 2010.

Sources said that Friday night's incident was not linked to a violent attack in the nearby Poppintree area on the previous Sunday afternoon.

On that occasion, a 43-year-old local criminal - who was previously a member of the mob led by slain crime lord Eamon 'The Don' Dunne - was attacked over an alleged drugs debt.

A vehicle linked to the man was also smashed-up in the incident on July 31.

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