A cautious welcome as 27 Garda recruits set for Blanchardstown

by Sylvia Pownall
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News that 27 of the new garda recruits will be stationed in Blanchardstown has been given a cautious welcome.

Almost half of new graduates will be sent to areas hardest hit by gang violence, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan announced last week.

As a result of this decision, 28 of the 201 new gardai leaving Templemore last week have been assigned to Coolock, with 27 assigned to Blanchardstown, and 30 stationed in Drogheda.

Reacting to the news, local Cllr Paul Donnelly (SF) said:

“27 new gardai for Blanchardstown is very much welcomed in tackling not just gun crime and gangland violence but also burglaries, theft and anti-social behaviour.

“This must be seen as only a first-tier response in tackling gangland violence – we also need a second- and third-tier response that includes all local community, voluntary and statutory agencies.

“We must have a well-funded early intervention team that identifies young people at risk of being groomed by drug gangs.

“We are still nowhere near the full complement required for a population of well over 100,000 people.

“Dublin 15 is expanding rapidly and these recruits should only be seen as the first wave of extra garda resources.”

Minister Flanagan said the new garda members were already earmarked for those areas before the recent murders in Coolock.

He said high-visibility policing would “ensure that ordinary people can go about their lawful business safely”.

Earlier this month, a man was shot and injured at Lidl in Blakestown and last month a secondary school in Blanchardstown went into lockdown after shots were fired outside the gates as students were preparing to leave for the day.

Cllr Donnelly told Dublin Gazette: “In the short term, we need more gardai policing this until these feuding gangs hopefully come to their senses.

“In the medium- to long-term we need organisations like Tusla, Safer Blanchardstown and all the therapeutic services and schools to sit down and figure out a way to support young people.

“There are young people being traumatised by this violence, either directly through their own families or in the community when they hear the shots or see the bodies or see armed gardai.

“These are the kids we need to have intervention for. I’ve been working in the community for a long time and I’ve never seen this level of violence or scale of weapons being used by people so young.

“The Criminal Assets Bureau needs to hit the mid-level dealers – the 18- and 19-year-olds who are driving top of the range sports cars, with jet skis and Rolex watches, holidaying abroad six times a year without having worked a day in their lives.

“Kids in some working-class areas look at them and want all that, because they don’t know any different.”

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