Friday, December 15, 2006


Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has criticised the failure of Minister McDowell’s record in tackling crime, after visiting the family of the late Gerry Byrne yesterday. Cllr O Riordain, a teacher in Sheriff Street, knows the Byrne family well and taught the sister of Gerry Byrne for three years. ‘The family are absolutely heartbroken and are struggling to make sense of what has just happened. Blood was still being cleared form the street outside the Mace in the IFSC this afternoon and the community are terrified about the repercussions of the shooting. ‘‘I have already received numerous calls from constituents who are extremely fearful about the current situation spiralling out of control and are terrified about their children being caught in the crossfire.’‘

Last month a neighbour of mine in Ballybough Ray Collins was gunned down in broad daylight, and this week has seen three murders in Dublin with numerous other non-fatal shooting incidents occuring in Cabra and Coburg Place also.‘It is clear that the current situation is spiralling out of control and I am extremely fearful that the gang feud which lead to Gerry Byrne being murdered last night will result in many more deaths over the coming months. The underlying tensions surrounding the feud have now been blown onto a new level and it is the responsibility of the Minister for Justice to reassure those living in fear in the locality that the State takes this crisis seriously.’

‘We need more than governmental gimmicks of a few gun wielding Gardai to reassure our citizens. We need the government in the short term to allocate extensive extra Garda manpower to potential trouble spots with a guarantee that they are there for the long hall. We also need the government to accept that their socially divisive policies have driven a wedge between the rich and poor in our society and that many young working class people are now finding the empowerment and the fulfilment they crave in criminality because our society refuses to respect them in a meaningful way.’

‘We still have one of the most unequal societies in the world. We have one of the largest child populations at risk of poverty in the western world. We have some of the poorest child literacy statistics in Europe with one in three children in disadvantaged areas having basic reading problems. We also have the second lowest percentage spend on education in Europe’

‘The minister’s policing polices have failed. His government have created a society that is steeped in disadvantage and this deprivation is now screaming so loud that not even he can ignore it. There will be another shooting and soon. It remains to be seen if the minister can move beyond kite-flying to prevent that from happening.’