Locals plea for help as teen thugs terrorise Blanchardstown area

by Sylvia Pownall

A warren of laneways enabling teenage thugs to terrorise residents in west Dublin could be closed off in a bid to clamp down on criminality.

Residents in Blanchardstown have pleaded with the council to end decades of misery and seal off some of the access points to a green area at Fortlawn estate.

The space was designated as a play area for children but has become a den of anti-social behaviour for youths who wreak havoc on those living beside it.

One resident who was repeatedly targeted had to be moved out of the area by the local authority and others have had windows smashed and fires lit on their doorstep.

Cllr Natalie Treacy (SF), who grew up in Fortlawn, said: “Residents won’t report it because they are living in fear of their lives.”

Cllr Treacy tabled a motion at the local area meeting of Fingal County Council last week asking that the access areas between Fortlawn Park, Fortlawn Avenue and Sheepmoor be blocked off.

She added: “The fact that the space is so small, why do we need six openings off it? It’s leaving it wide open for them to hang around and cause anti-social behaviour.”

Solidarity Cllr Sandra Kavanagh, who lives in Sheepmoor, said the laneways in the area were used by criminals as getaway routes and to conceal weapons.

In 2017 Christopher McDonald was convicted of the murder of Keith Walker at the Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club car park on Shelerin Road in Clonsilla in 2015.

McDonald had been dressed as a woman when he blasted his victim 18 times with a sub-machine gun. His trial heard that four days after the shooting Gardai found the murder weapon in a laneway at Sheepmoor Grove, about 1km from the scene.

The 9mm calibre Makarov sub-machine gun was inside a brown, furry River Island handbag with a black wig and a transparent latex glove.

A council official said it was “ironic” that they’d had no complaints in the past year since the houses had been built facing the green to provide “passive observation”.

But Cllr Treacy countered: “Residents are not there to act as a watchdog. They’re not going to report – and the reason is they’ve had their windows smashed.

“Or they get the kids threatened in school. These youths live among these residents, they know who they are, they know if someone reports them…

“Residents can’t use that open green space, it’s not safe to play on. We’ve had fires blazing right in front of people’s doorsteps. It’s not good enough.”

Fingal County Council said it would consider its options with a view to building infill housing “at this and other locations within Dublin 15 housing estates”.

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