herald

Thursday 21 November 2019

Innocent woman's home is hit in feud arson attack

Gardai said freed taxi driver had no links to criminality
Gardai said freed taxi driver had no links to criminality

A house occupied by an innocent woman was targeted in an arson attack in the latest incident in the out-of-control Coolock feud.

It is understood the property, on Coolock Drive, was attacked at 10.35pm on Saturday by gangsters feuding with a young man known to the innocent woman.

Extensive damage was caused to the property only hours after the man appeared in court on feud-related charges.

The 25-year-old man had been arrested last week as part of a major garda surveillance operation that also led to the arrest of a 53-year old taxi driver and another man.

After being questioned for 24 hours at Coolock Garda Station, the driver was released without charge late last Thursday night.

Senior sources said he did not know the pair he picked up in the Bunratty Road area on Wednesday night after being alerted to the fare on the Free Now app.

Terrified

He was arrested along with the two suspects, but garda inquiries determined he had no involvement in criminality.

A source close to the north Dublin taxi man, who has no convictions, said he has been "living in fear" since being released from custody.

"He's terrified that he'll become a target of the feuding gangs," the friend told the Herald.

"He's worried that, as his taxi was at the scene for over an hour after the arrest operation, people may have taken down his number from which you can easily get his photo and wrongly think he was involved.

"This man is scared for his family's safety.

"He has spoken to gardai about his concerns and they have assured him they will pay attention to his home in the coming days and weeks."

The driver also has major concerns over his livelihood, as the car he was driving when he was arrested has been seized.

"He has no income because his taxi remains with the gardai and he can't access the car or important documentation in it until they've finished their investigations," the friend said.

"He has tried to find out when he can get the taxi back but hasn't got any answers yet.

"This has been a very stressful week for a man who was never in trouble in his life."

Tension remains high in the Coolock feud, with a number of different crime gangs involved in the complex vendetta with lines becomingly "increasingly blurred".

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