Saturday 1 October 2016

Locals to march in area terrified by gangs' feud

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

Marie Metcalfe, co-ordinator of the Community Policing Forum in the North East Inner City, said the procession was being organised to highlight that a community of people is being affected by the fear that has swept the streets. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Marie Metcalfe, co-ordinator of the Community Policing Forum in the North East Inner City, said the procession was being organised to highlight that a community of people is being affected by the fear that has swept the streets. Photo: RollingNews.ie

The inner-city community of Dublin that has been hit hard by a wave of gangland killings will hold a white-ribbon peaceful procession this week.

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Marie Metcalfe, co-ordinator of the Community Policing Forum in the North East Inner City, said the procession was being organised to highlight that a community of people is being affected by the fear that has swept the streets.

A meeting to organise the procession, which will include white ribbons and a candlelit walk, will be held by local representatives tomorrow.

Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald has been asked to attend the march but has yet to respond to the request.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Ms Metcalfe said: "It is being organised for the community itself because every day people are being affected by this feud.

"People are feeling isolated and we need to support people and to let them know they are not on their own. We are all in this together.

"People are feeling panicked and not even able to go out and socialise any more because it feels like these incidents are happening on a daily basis.

"In the beginning, just to go to the shop, you had to walk through drugs on the street and now on top of that we have a fear of stray bullets. It is very frightening, especially for the elderly and the children who are hearing all of this.

"It's a terrible way to grow up. I have great memories of my childhood - what memories of their youth will they have when they are older?

"We can tackle this. But I have to stress to politicians that we need help."

The procession is being organised by local community leaders and will include the participation of the four local churches in the area - the Pro-Cathedral; St Agatha's church on William Street; Church of Our Lady of Lourdes on Sean McDermott Street; and St Laurence O'Toole's Church on Sheriff Street.

It will finish at the Sean McDermott memorial, near the Five Lamps, a site once notorious for open drug-dealing. The memorial was designed in conjunction with relatives of those who have died from heroin and depicts a flame of hope behind an open door.

Ms Metcalfe, who has been working in the area for 17 years, said: "It reminds me of the Eighties - going back 20 years, instead of going forward, and that's why we need the help of the Government. They helped back then and they should do the same now."

Meanwhile, a report which was conducted from 2008-2010 by the Health Research Board and involved interviews with drug dealers and gardai, as well as a street survey of 800 people, has found that the drugs network was not about individuals, no matter how big the criminal. This is because if you remove one dealer, another will quickly take their place.

The feud between Ireland's two biggest gangs has claimed six lives since last September.

Sunday Independent

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