Saturday 18 November 2017

Criminals use stolen lorry to flatten CCTV system recording work at site for homeless families

The scene at Cherry Orchard Avenue in Dublin following the incident
The scene at Cherry Orchard Avenue in Dublin following the incident
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A gang of dangerous criminals is being blamed for destroying a sophisticated CCTV system by ramming it with a stolen truck.

The truck was driven on to a grassed area at Cherry Orchard Avenue in west Dublin before being reversed at speed into the metal pole on which the surveillance system was mounted.

Pictures show how the pole was left uprooted by the impact and the truck abandoned at the scene.

The incident happened at about 7.40pm on Monday.

Homeless

The camera system, which was installed by Dublin City Council, was being used to monitor a construction site across the road, where an estate of modular houses for homeless families is being built.

There has been trouble at the site in the past, when protests took place and violence flared as some local groups opposed the construction of the houses.

However, local sources have said they do not believe the people who knocked down the CCTV system are involved in any of the groups opposed to the housing.

"This is much more sinister. This isn't local hoods, it's the action of a gangster," said one person.

Also commenting on the attack on council property, local Sinn Fein councillor Daithi Doolin branded it "unacceptable and very dangerous".

"The action was an attempt to undermine the good work going on in Cherry Orchard. These criminals will not succeed in stopping progress. Their intimidation will not work," he told the Herald.

"These actions in no way represent local people. Families here are working hard to improve the community for their children and neighbours.

"There's great work going on right across Cherry Orchard.

"We have the building of new homes for local families. We have new and exciting plans to develop Cherry Orchard.

"None of this will be stopped by the actions of a few criminals.

"I would ask that all of us, local political representatives, gardai and residents redouble our efforts to ensure this behaviour does not divide or distract from the good work we have been doing."

Mr Doolin is set to raise the incident at a meeting of the council's South Central Area Committee today.

His motion states that the committee condemns in the strongest possible terms Monday's attack on security cameras in Cherry Orchard

"This criminal action is unacceptable and dangerous. The damaged pole and camera must be repaired as a matter of urgency," he will say.

Gardai have confirmed that the incident is under investigation by officers at Ballyfermot Garda Station.

Arsonist

"A rigid body truck, which has been reported stolen, was used to demolish a pole fitted with a CCTV system and equipment," said a garda spokeswoman.

"No arrests have been made and the matter is under investigation."

Last September, the building site was severely damaged by vandals who drove a car through the fencing and left it to burn out on the site.

The premises were being prepared for the construction of 72 homes for homeless families currently in emergency accommodation.

In December, a construction worker was set on fire when his digger was targeted by an arsonist.

A garda spokesperson at the time said the man wasn't injured in the attack, but he was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

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