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Sunday 21 October 2018

Family home 'firebombed twice by mob of vigilantes'

The scene of the fire in Tyrrelstown in west Dublin. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
The scene of the fire in Tyrrelstown in west Dublin. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
The scene of the fire in Tyrrelstown in west Dublin. Photo: Kyran O’Brien

Robin Schiller

Gardaí are probing whether a vigilante mob firebombed a family home twice over the weekend in revenge for a spate of violent taxi robberies.

On Saturday night, a house in Tyrrelstown was badly damaged after a suspected accelerant was thrown through the front window while a family were inside.

An innocent mother and her three sons managed to escape the property without being seriously injured, but one person was treated for smoke inhalation. On Sunday, the house was once again set on fire - but the family had already fled the area.

The Irish Independent has learned that an 18-year-old is suspected of being a senior member of a teen gang that has caused havoc across the capital over the last year.

The gang are suspected of a spate of violent robberies of taxi drivers, which led to a special Garda unit being established to clamp down on the young thugs.

Gardaí investigating the two attacks on the house over the weekend suspect that they were carried out in a bid to gain revenge for the taxi driver robberies.

"There is a real concern that a vigilante mob are behind the two firebomb attacks," a source said.

Officers from Blanchardstown garda station are investigating both incidents as criminal damage offences.

The teen was arrested last year after threatening to kill a garda during a tense stand-off with officers in west Dublin.

Last month, it emerged that taxi drivers were threatening to boycott the area after at least eight violent robberies were carried out.

However, the introduction of the specialist Garda unit operating out of Blanchardstown garda station has disrupted the teen gang from carrying out further attacks.

One local resident said the burnt-out house has previously been targeted and had windows broken. "We don't know why it is attracting this sort of attention or if the previous attacks and the fire are related, but it is a very serious situation now.

"On Saturday night the house went up in flames very quickly. It was a very big fire. The mother fainted at the scene and was taken in by a neighbour. Then the emergency services arrived," said the local resident.

"Then on Sunday night the same thing happened again. Another big fire and the emergency services back again. There was nobody in at the time because of all the damage the night before, but the fire was just as big," they added.

"It is my opinion that both fires were deliberate."

Irish Independent

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