Monday 19 August 2019

Gardaí condemn lone gunman who targeted individual waiting outside school in west Dublin

  • Gunman discharged shots at another man outside the gates at 3.40pm
  • Riversdale Community College secondary school went into lockdown
  • Teachers stood against the door to prevent anyone getting in or out
  • Gardaí carried out searches in nearby Corduff estate
Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys
Gardai search across the road from Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys
Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys
Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys
Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys

Robin Schiller, Ryan Nugent and Ken Foy

Gardaí have condemned the lone gunman who targeted a man in his 20s waiting outside a secondary school in Dublin.

A secondary school in west Dublin went into lockdown this afternoon after a gunman discharged shots from a handgun outside the school gates.

Gardai search across the road from Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Gardai search across the road from Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys

Gardaí are investigating the shooting outside Riversdale Community College secondary school in Blanchardstown Road North, Blanchardstown at 3.40pm.

Gardai said that several shots were fired just as school was about to finish.

Pupils were kept in the school as a precaution and the students' parents were informed of the incident. The announcement came on the school intercom to inform students and teachers to remain inside their classrooms and for nobody to leave just as the school bell went.

It’s understood that some teachers stood against the doors of their classrooms to prevent anyone from getting in or out as a precaution.

Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys

The intended target was not injured in the incident. The gunman then fled to the nearby Corduff Grove estate. Gardaí carried out a number of searches this evening in the Corduff area, with the assistance of the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Units.

A number of persons were arrested near Corduff Grove, and released following searches.

Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys

Superintendent Carolan, Blanchardstown Garda Station condemned the "reckless attack"

"(The incident) took place in broad day light at a time when school was just about to finish and students would have been exiting to be collected by parents," he said in a statement.

Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Gardai search Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown following the shooting. Pic Steve Humphreys

Superintendent Carolan is appealing to any person in the vicinity of the Community College between 3p.m. and 3.40p.m. to contact Gardaí at Blanchardstown Garda Station.  

In particular Gardaí are looking for any person driving along Blanchardstown Road North or Corduff Grove who may have dashcam footage to make contact.

Gardaí are also appealing for any person who observed any unusual activity in the vicinity of the Community College in recent days to make contact at Blanchardstown Garda Station at 01-6669700 or the Garda Confidential  Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

A representative for the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB), which is the patron of Riversdale Community College said that all pupils and staff are "safe and well" following the incident.

"We are aware that an incident involving gunfire has taken place outside of the school this afternoon at approximately 3.40 pm.

"The gardai attended the area immediately in large numbers. All pupils and staff are safe and well," a spokesperson said in a statement.

"When the nature of the incident became apparent, the school requested all pupils to stay within the school for a period of time to ensure their safety and well-being. The school also contacted parents and in due course all pupils were able to leave as normal.

"The school will reopen tomorrow fully as normal.

"DDLETB Psychological Support Service will be linking with the school to support students and staff in the event that this should be necessary.

"DDLETB expressed its strong appreciation to the entire school community and commended the Principal of the school, all staff, pupils and parents for the excellent and calm manner in which they reacted to this regrettable incident.

"Given that a Garda investigation is currently operational and ongoing we will not be commenting any further at this time."

Gardai are investigating if the shooting is linked to a bitter feud in the Corduff area which has seen numerous violent incidents in the past number of months.

It is understood that the intended target who is aged in his 20s was shot at a number of times outside Riversdale Community College when he arrived at the school to collect his younger brother.

He was not injured in the attack and it is understood that he ran into the school grounds after being targeted.

OLLEGE SHOOTING 6SH.jpg
Gardai block off roads at Corduff Grove close to the Riversdale Community College in Blanchardstown. Pic Steve Humphreys 2nd April 2019

Speaking in Paris, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is “shocked and concerned” to hear about the shooting at a school in his constituency.

He expects to be briefed on the situation by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan later this evening.

Jack Chambers, a Fianna Fáil TD who represents Dublin West, said local gardaí need the support of national units due to the recent escalation in violent activity in the area.

A similar response saw armed gardaí and specialist units deployed to the inner city a number of years ago when gangland tensions there spiked.

“There has been a shocking escalation of violence in west Dublin recently,” he said.

“Now we have had a shooting in broad daylight outside of a school which has serious ramifications for the safety of the broader community,” he said, adding it was also “traumatic” for parents and children to witness such an incident near the school.

People in the area are living in fear and in some areas are afraid to let their children out according to Mr Chambers, who sits on the Oireachtas Justice Committee.

Local gardaí are doing their “level best” to respond and to increase their visibility but there is a need for a “proportionate response” in the form of national resources to be deployed as back up the deputy told Independent.ie.

Former Tanáiste Joan Burton said she has already raised concerns about recent developments in the area.

"I have spoken about children’s parents and staff of local schools being really worried about recent episodes of lawlessness in the area," she said.

"A small number of people are putting the good name of a lovely community at risk."

"We need more community policing urgently. Fine Gael is failing people and communities on policing and justice," she added.

Finally, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the incident was "contemptible".

"I utterly condemn all incidents of violence but the particular recklessness involved in this incident where shots were fired outside a school is shocking and particularly contemptible," he said.   

A spokeswoman for the minister said that "while the circumstances surrounding this incident are yet to be determined, the Minister is aware that there have been a series of violent incidents in recent weeks relating to an ongoing feud in this area".

They added; "As the incident today has proven, there is cause for concern for the safety of the local residents. An Garda Síochána have been engaging in a number of actions to combat this activity involving members of specialist Garda units, including local Detective Units and the Garda Dog Unit.

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