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Tuesday 22 July 2014

Pressure mounts over gun crime after boy (6) shot

Luke Byrne

Published 16/06/2014|02:30

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Members of the Garda forensic team at the crime scene in Croftwood Gardens, Dublin, where a six-year-old boy was shot last night. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Members of the Garda forensic team at the crime scene in Croftwood Gardens, Dublin, where a six-year-old boy was shot last night. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

JUSTICE Minister Frances Fitzgerald is facing mounting pressure over gun crime, as a six-year-old shooting victim recovers in hospital surrounded by family.

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Calls for action increased as gardai arrested a relative on suspicion of withholding information in the investigation into the shooting of Sean Scully as he played on a green area at Croftwood Gardens, Ballyfermot, west Dublin.

Opposition parties have called for an urgent meeting with both gardai and Ms Fitzgerald, who condemned the shooting as barbaric.

Sean's life was saved when a quick-thinking passer-by put pressure on his neck injury.

Ms Fitzgerald – who just days into the new post has had to deal with an official inquiry by retired High Court Judge John Cooke which found no evidence to support concerns the garda watchdog's offices were bugged – has now been urged to hold a party-wide meeting of politicians to discuss gun crime.

Pressure is also mounting on the Justice Minister to probe further into the bugging affair as it emerged garda watchdog officials set up an elaborate sting with the UK security firm Verrimus in a failed bid to flush out those supposed to be spying on the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Target

The young boy was just metres from his home and with friends when a gunman opened fire after 10pm on Friday.

Investigating officers yesterday arrested a relative of the boy, a man in his 30s, in the Ballyfermot area. He was taken to Ballyfermot garda station.

It is believed that the intended target of the shooting was a relative of Sean's. A row had broken out between two brothers and a relative, who ran towards a house. As he was trying to escape, the gunman opened fire, missing the intended target and instead hitting Sean in the neck.

A garda spokesman said that investigations were ongoing. Gardai have identified at least one other man who is wanted for questioning.

Sean, who is a senior infant at St Ultan's Primary School in Cherry Orchard, is in a stable condition in Crumlin Children's Hospital. He underwent surgery over the weekend. There are concerns that he may have suffered long-term injuries.

Fr Gerry O'Connor, chairman of the board of St Ultan's Primary School, visited the family home along with school principal Ena Morley.

He said there were no words to describe the shooting, adding: "Across Dublin this type of thing is happening. There seems to be a total disregard for human life.

"This is a community that is in what can only be described as a state of hurt, bewilderment and pain at this time."

Irish Independent

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