Gardai on high alert as family appeals for no reprisals
Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00
GARDAI are on high alert this weekend, with armed patrols on duty in west Dublin, amid fears of reprisals against family or relatives of the young gangsters responsible for the murder of 16-year-old settled Traveller girl Melanie McNamara (also known as Melanie McNamara-McCarthy) in Tallaght.
Despite initial reports on RTE and elsewhere, the murder was not part of a "Traveller feud", gardai said, but is believed to be a wide-ranging feud involving local teenagers, some from established Dublin crime families, involved in the drugs trade in Tallaght, and settled and some transient Travellers. Three of the four young Dublin men being urgently sought by gardai have no Traveller connections.
Intelligence reaching gardai suggested that plotting is under way to kill a member or members of families of the four main suspects in the shotgun murder of teenager Melanie on Tuesday evening.
In an effort to prevent further bloodshed, the father of Christy Moran, Melanie's fiance, who was with her in the car when she was shot, appealed for no violence and for people to "leave it in the hands of the gardai".
Michael Moran said: "There should be no reprisals." Mr Moran, who has no criminal connections, was himself the target of a recent attack when a shotgun was fired at his home in the Drumcairn area of Tallaght.
There has been sporadic violence in and around the Brookfield and Drumcairn areas in recent years involving teenage drug gangs and which resulted in the 2009 murders of Stephen O'Halloran and Paul Byrne, both aged 20. Mr O'Halloran was shot dead at Kilmartin Drive in Tallaght on January 19, 2009, and Paul Byrne was kidnapped, taken into the Dublin Mountains and shot dead. His body was recovered a year later.
Local people say that the past two or three years have become increasingly intolerable for many people living near the homes of the main protagonists in the west Tallaght feuding.
Local Sinn Fein councillor Maire Devine said five innocent families had been forced to leave the Brookfield area in the past year alone because of the violence of local teenagers involved in the drugs trade. Ms Devine said the gangs were forcing teenagers and children to work for them, storing drugs and weapons and acting as look-outs for gardai and other gangs. Those who refused were the subjects of vicious attacks and their families and homes were also targeted.
People who spoke to the Sunday Independent concurred that the area was lawless and many people wished to get out. West Tallaght has one of the highest concentrations of settled Traveller families in the State and the vast majority have no involvement in crime and are well integrated into the settled community. One member of the settled Traveller community in Tallaght said that they were often the victim of intimidation and violence from transient Traveller criminals.