Fury over ‘reckless’ shots at school gates

by Padraig Conlon

Gardai have condemned a shooting incident outside a school in Blanchardstown as community representatives call for feuding gangs to end the violence.

Riversdale Community College in Corduff went into lockdown on Tuesday afternoon after shots were fired outside the school gates just as students were due to leave.

Teachers stood against the doors of their classrooms and parents were informed as an intercom announcement warned staff and students not to leave the building.

Eye witnesses said they heard two shots being fired and saw a man running for cover.

One upset parent fumed: “If you know your life is under threat, then you shouldn’t go anywhere near a school.”

Labour TD Joan Burton said: “This escalation of feuding and violence must be tackled. This type of shootinhg cannot be allowed become the norm.”

Appealing for witnesses, Superintendent William Carolan condemned the “reckless attack”.

In a statement, the patron board said all students and staff were “safe and well” following the incident and the school reopened as normal on Wednesday.

It said psychological support services would be available to students where needed and it commended the principal, staff, pupils and parents for “the excellent and calm manner in which they reacted to this regrettable incident”.

A lone assailant armed with a handgun opened fire on a 23-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth as they arrived to collect a student.

Both escaped injury, with the older man fleeing into the school grounds. The shooting is believed to be linked to an escalating dispute between two feuding gangs.

Cllr Paul Donnelly (SF) said he was “horrified” to hear of the shooting, adding: “It beggars belief that a person would put the lives of school children in danger like this.

“I am asking the community to give the gardai any information they have in relation to these idiots to ensure that they are taken off our streets.”

Garda intelligence has connected at least 30 people to the feuding gangs and several of those have already been formally warned of a credible threat to their lives.

A Garda armed response unit was quickly on the scene on Tuesday and local Fianna Fail TD Jack Chambers is now calling for specialist units to be deployed, as was the case with the Hutch/Kinahan feud in the inner city.

Gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact them at 01 666 9700, or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666 111.

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