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Saturday 21 September 2019

'These losers will have to face justice' - Flanagan

Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, Minister Finian McGrath and Senator Catherine Noone at Coolock Garda Station. Photo: Independent News & Media
Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, Minister Finian McGrath and Senator Catherine Noone at Coolock Garda Station. Photo: Independent News & Media

"Forget about the bling. These losers will be brought to justice."

That was the message of Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan during a visit to Coolock, where a bloody feud has claimed three lives in the past week.

He was one of a number of ministers to visit the north Dublin district.

With 30 extra gardai arriving in the north Dublin district next week, he said every effort was being made to bring to justice the young thugs engaged in the feud.

"My message to young people in this area is that there is no future in organised crime or drugs, or the bling that it brings.

"These are losers, and I'm calling on the community to work closely with gardai."

Minister Flanagan agreed to visit Coolock after Sean Little and Jordan Davis were shot dead within 24 hours of each other. A few days later, Hamid Sanambar was shot dead in the driveway of Sean Little's family home.

"This is a law-abiding community. However a small number of young males are acting in a way that is totally unacceptable.

"I'm appealing to the community to keep in contact with An Garda Siochana to ensure they are taken out of society."

After a meeting with gardai, Mr Flanagan visited community groups to hear first hand about crime in the area.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said locals had outlined their concerns and needs.

"They told us of the effects of what has happened over the last week and a half," he said. "Nobody is in any doubt as to what that impact is.

"They say it is not just a Garda response that is needed, but a whole of government response. In terms of Garda response, they are looking for more people on the beat."

Asked about the feud and the fact that guns are being used by very young gang members, he said: "We know how to approach this. We have been very successful with far more organised groups and we'll be successful here too."

In relation to the three murders, Asst Comm Leahy said gardai were making progress.

"We are getting great response from local people, which is a sign that we have a good relationship with them."

Meanwhile, a local councillor slammed Mr Flanagan's visit as "shameful" and a publicity stunt.

"I am sure that if the recent murders had occurred in Dalkey or Killiney, we would have seen a much swifter and more serious response from the government," said John Lyons

"Instead, it takes Government ministers a full week to visit the area and when they visit, they have nothing of value to say.

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"Shameful really, and not good enough for the communities directly affected."

Mr Lyons has called on Leo Varadkar to establish a task force to address the gangland violence in Coolock, and the economic, social and educational inequalities that give rise to such activity.

"I am once again inviting An Taoiseach to find a little time to visit the area, meet with the various stakeholders in the community with a view to establishing task force.

"The communities deserve a serious response from government, a response that is sadly lacking to date."

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