Monday 21 January 2019

Have we come to simply accept these gangland gun attacks?

Last Saturday night two men wearing balaclavas burst through the doors of Oil Can Harrys pub on Dublin's Lower Mount Street.

The bar was packed with customers, including many American visitors who had attended a major college football game earlier in Croke Park.

There was also a Christening party in full swing in a private room there.

In a case of mistaken identity one of the men, armed with a handgun, shot two innocent young men.

Mercifully the two victims, Niall Augusta (19) and Lee Ryan (20) escaped with their lives.

But this takes nothing away from what was a terrifying and utterly reckless attack.

It was a miracle that nobody was killed.

The shooting must also have been a shocking experience for the many American visitors enjoying the after-match celebrations.

They could never have imagined that they would witness such a terrifying and distressing scenario in the literary city of Joyce and Wilde.


Of course, it was also another example of the threat that reckless and psychopathic gangsters pose to our society.

Despite the best efforts of the gardai, gun crime and gangland murders have unfortunately become endemic in Dublin, a city whose criminal culture is now dominated by organised crime.

Over the last decade we have seen an inexorable rise in such killings as gangs battle for drug turf.

There have, of course, already been innocent victims of gangland gunmen.

Who can forget the murder of innocent young plumber Anthony Campbell?

And who was not shocked by the shooting, last June, of Sean Scully, an innocent schoolboy shot in the neck outside his home in Ballyfermot?

Little Sean suffered catastrophic injuries in the attack.

As organised gangland violence and drug related killings continue to spiral out of control it seems, sadly, that we have as a society almost subconsciously resigned ourselves to accepting this grim situation.


During that Troubles, Margaret infamously said that there could be an "acceptable level" of IRA violence. Are we now accepting a similar sentiment when it comes to gangland violence in Dublin?

The attitude of successive Governments over the past ten years to gangland violence would seem to reflect that view.

How many more innocent people, like Niall Augusta and Lee Ryan, will be shot before the Government faces up this menace?

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