Gang waits outside social welfare office to collect debts from vulnerable people
'It really is a sick sight to see... These drug dealers sitting on a wall waiting for the poor devils to come out and hand them cash'
A drugs gang waits outside a north Dublin social welfare office almost every other day to collect debts owed to them by their vulnerable customers.
The cash-strapped addicts are forced to hand over the vast majority of their meagre dole payments to the ruthless crew, who have become main players in Balbriggan and surrounding areas of the capital's northside.
"It really is a sick sight to see," a source said last night. "These drug dealers sitting on a wall waiting for the poor devils to come out and hand them cash.
"It is women as well as men. Many of these unfortunate individuals have families themselves. How can they then provide for their children?
"It is not just dole that the vultures take, it is also children's allowances. Something needs to be done."
The shocking scenes have been played out on an almost daily basis at the post office at Drogheda Street in Balbriggan.
It has emerged the family-based Traveller drugs gang is becoming more powerful and, in an unrelenting cash drive, is not satisfied with taking just social welfare payments.
Sources say gardai are investigating a recent sinister incident in which the gang demanded €5,000 from an innocent family man in his mid-60s.
The debt arose from money allegedly owed by his daughter and her partner, who it is claimed both have a cocaine addiction and have been forced to move out of their home.
The partner, originally from the Tallaght area, is in hiding, while the daughter is said to be "terrified out of her mind".
Sources say the drugs gang went to her highly-respected father's home and threatened to "shoot it up and smash the windows" unless the €5,000 was handed over.
He refused, and so far there have been no reprisals, but extra armed garda patrols have been in place in Balbriggan over the past week.
"The gang decided the dole money was not enough, that the money was coming too slowly," a source said. "They figured her dad had cash so they threatened him in his family home. These fellas are the scum of the earth."
The Herald can reveal the Traveller gang is led by three brothers who have taken over the patch previously controlled by associates of jailed mobster Cornelius Price.
They have been observed driving top-of-the-range 171-reg cars even though they are unemployed.
"They are dealing everything - coke, crack cocaine, weed - they are a particularly violent crew," the source said.
They are a family-based gang with strong links to Blanchardstown and Cavan town.
They cannot be named here as most of are facing charges before the courts. The crew is also involved in stolen car offences.
The mob they have taken over from was closely linked to psycho criminal Price (35).
He was jailed for three years after a trial in February when he was convicted of reckless endangerment of a garda at Balbriggan Garda Station over three years ago.
His associates are suspected of involvement in three gangland murders and Price is suspected of still being involved with gang operations from jail.
While not a suspect himself for any of the three killings, Price's associates are the chief suspects for the murder of Benny Whitehouse (36), who was shot dead in September 2014.
The gangsters suspected of killing Whitehouse are also the chief suspects for the suspected murders of Tallaght man Willie Maughan (34) and his Latvian partner Anna Varslavane (21), who were last seen near Price's house in the Gormanston area on April 14, 2015.
Price has never been arrested in connection with the missing couple, who it is believed were shot dead and their bodies burnt in a bonfir