herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

Fear of more vigilante attacks as home set on fire over taxi robberies

The damage caused to a family home in west Dublin after it was twice targeted in firebomb attacks recently by vigilantes
The damage caused to a family home in west Dublin after it was twice targeted in firebomb attacks recently by vigilantes

Gardai fear that more vigilante attacks could be carried out in a west Dublin suburb after a family home was fire bombed in a suspected revenge attack over a spate of violent taxi robberies.

The house in the Tyrellstown area was torched last week as an innocent mother and her three sons were inside the property.

The family managed to escape the blaze unharmed but one person was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Gardai believe that the firebomb attack was carried out in revenge for a spate of violent taxi robberies in west Dublin and fear that further similar attacks will be carried out by the unknown vigilantes.

The local detective unit have taken over the investigation and an incident room has been established at Blanchardstown Garda Station due to concerns the situation could escalate.

Suspects

"There is a genuine fear that this isn't the last attack that will be carried out," a source said.

There is a lot of anger in the local area about these robberies and several suspects live in the locality, so there is certainly potential there for another attack."

It is understood that gardai have not yet definitively identified those behind last week's firebomb attack, but the investigation is in its early stages and a number of lines of inquiry are being probed.

Detectives are investigating a possible organised crime link to the attack, as the taxi robberies brought an increased garda presence to the area and disrupted the day-to-day operations of several crime gangs.

Last week, the Herald revealed that the house was targeted because an 18-year-old thug living at the home is suspected of being a senior member of a teen gang who have caused havoc across the capital over the last year.

The group are the chief suspects in a spate of violent robberies of taxi drivers, which led to a special garda unit being established to clamp down on the young thugs.

The first firebomb attack was carried out shortly after 11pm on Saturday, February 10, when an accelerant was thrown through the front window of the house.

The following day, another blaze broke out at the home shortly before midnight.

However, the family had fled the area at this point over fears they would be further targeted.

The suspected teen gang leader was arrested last year after threatening to kill a garda during a tense stand-off with officers in west Dublin.

Last month, the Herald revealed that taxi drivers were threatening to boycott the area after at least eight violent robberies were carried out.

However, the introduction of a specialist garda unit operating out of Blanchardstown Garda Station has disrupted the teen gang from carrying out further attacks.

One local resident in the Tyrellstown area said the burnt-out house has previously been targeted and the windows have been smashed.

Fainted

"We don't know why it is attracting this sort of attention or if the previous attacks and the fire are related, but it is a very serious situation now," they told the Herald.

"On Saturday night, the house went up in flames very quickly. It was a very big fire. It was around 10.30pm or 11 o'clock. The mother fainted at the scene and was taken in by a neighbour. Then the emergency services arrived.

"Then, on Sunday night, the same thing happened again. Another big fire and the emergency services back again.

"There was nobody in at the time because of all the damage the night before, but the fire was just as big."

"It is my opinion that both fires were deliberate," they reported.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News