Young guns launch second wave in bloody gang feud
By Tom Brady
Friday March 20 2009
A new breed of young criminals have launched a "second division" of the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud and gardai fear it could result in fresh bloodshed following a series of shooting incidents in the south Dublin districts.
The younger generation have lined up behind the leaders of the two rival factions involved in the initial warfare but are running their own feud.
The opening up of a new 'front' in the south city suburbs has resulted in extra patrols being sent onto the streets to prevent further loss of life.
Senior gardai disclosed last night that armed personnel from the Garda organised crime unit and the Special Branch have been drafted into Crumlin and the surrounding areas to back up local plainclothes and uniformed members.
One garda admitted last night: "This development is worrying as it involves gangs of young and inexperienced criminals who are armed and off their heads on cocaine."
The secondary feud has already resulted in several shootings in the past month, with up to 10 houses targeted by the thugs, who roam the suburbs at night in stolen cars.
In some incidents, the homes of innocent people have been wrongly selected by the gunmen, who are seeking out houses used by members of the rival gang. Gardai have so far arrested nine youngsters for questioning in connection with the attacks but no criminal charges have been brought, although inquiries are continuing.
Officers said those involved are all in their late teens or early 20s and many have connections with members of the main gangs. One youth is a close relative of a victim of the initial feud, while another is the son of a major southside Dublin criminal who was an armed robber in the 1990s.
Until last weekend when Shay O'Byrne, the suspected right-hand man of one of the gang leaders, was gunned down in Tallaght, gardai had managed through a combination of intensive patrolling and intelligence-led operations to curb the rise in the feud death toll, which reached 10 lives in December 2006. Armed gardai were sent onto the streets last July after foiling a gangland hit by confronting and arresting an armed suspect. And up to a week ago, that garda activity had paid dividends.
The garda source said:"The start of 'division two' of the feud has added a new dimension to the problem and increases the prospects of an innocent person being shot because of the random way in which these youths operate, as well as making it potentially more dangerous for gardai patrolling the neighbourhoods."
"It has introduced the feud, which has existed since 2001, to a new generation and unless we can get it under control it is going to bring more grief to people in those areas," he added.
Gardai believe they know the identity of most of those involved in the factions and are keeping the main suspects under close surveillance.
However, they are concerned that "outsiders" could be brought in to carry out new attacks.
- Tom Brady