Sunday 18 November 2018

Mediation talks offered to feud families after baby shot in attack

  • 'We would call on both families to make sure there is no retaliation'
  • Travellers' group Pavee Point appeals for calm in the area
  • Man arrested in immediate aftermath of the attack
  • Taoiseach Varadkar 'horrified' at the shooting
Residents at the scene where three people were shot Inset: Michael Collins, who says the shots were meant for him
Residents at the scene where three people were shot Inset: Michael Collins, who says the shots were meant for him
Residents at the scene where three people were shot

Robin Schiller and Ian Begley

Mediation talks have been offered to the two groups at the centre of a feud which has resulted in an eight-month-old baby being shot.

The shocking gun attack also saw the child's mother, Lynn Doyle (29), and a 17-year-old boy hit by shotgun pellets.

The baby boy, who was in his mother's arms when he was hit, was last night being treated at Temple Street Children's Hospital after being shot in the legs during the indiscriminate shooting. He was hit by up to 16 pellets and suffered a broken leg.

The family was putting up their Christmas tree at the home in Parslickstown Gardens, Mulhuddart, west Dublin, when the shooting occurred.

All three casualties suffered gunshot injuries which have been described as non-life-threatening.

The intended target of the hit, Michael Collins, last night told the Irish Independent that the shooting was "pure evil".

Speaking from the house which remained cordoned off, he said: "The bullet was meant for me but I ducked just in time. It's a disgrace - targeting a baby is beyond evil.

"What did he do to anyone? It's my twin brother's baby who got shot.

"He's not even a year old now and got a bullet in the legs."

Mr Collins said that Ms Doyle is his twin brother's partner.

Michael Collins, who says the shots were meant for him
Michael Collins, who says the shots were meant for him

Now, the groups have been offered a mediation process by a community group in the area, who said they are willing to work alongside other groups, the local authorities and the gardaí to help solve the crisis.

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Catherine Joyce of the Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group has offered to aid the situation.

"It's very tragic that this incident has happened," she said.

"Especially at this time of year when these families are getting ready for Christmas.

"The reality is gun crime is a problem in this country, it doesn't matter who is involved.

"It needs to be dealt with by the guards, not the individuals.

"We would be willing to work with the guards and the families, after this initial incident calms down a little bit.

"We would call on both families to make sure there is no retaliation.

"We do offer that service, we of course know the families. The young man has been involved in summer projects and programmes with us over the years."

Ms Joyce said there are not two families involved, but rather there are two members of the one family involved.

"This is not a feud in the traditional sense," she continued.

"Unfortunately there was an incident two years ago and this fall-out is a result of it.

"We will certainly work with them," she added.

Ms Joyce said it is important that community group work with the gardaí to ensure as much accurate information is given about the situation.

"We will be a support to those involved. The local knowledge is there, there are professional mediators, the context built up over the last few years will benefit us. We're not the only people that need to be involved. Local authorities do have a role."

Meanwhile, a Pavee Point spokesperson told the same programme he is appealing for calm following yesterday's shooting.

"It has the potential to escalate and it could even be worse next time, where potentially lives could be lost," Martin Collins said.

"[I'd encourage those involved] to see sense, come back to the table and to understand that violence and conflict is not inevitable, it is entirely preventable."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he was "horrified" at the shooting, which was carried out in his constituency.

"This was a shocking incident. I was horrified to learn about it.

"I know gardaí are conducting a detailed inquiry and it's important that they now be given the space to complete their work," Mr Varadkar said.

Arrest

Detectives investigating the attack arrested a man in his 40s in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

This individual was arrested after his home was searched and shotgun cartridges recovered.

It can also be revealed that this local criminal was targeted in a shooting just last week. On December 3, his home was shot at as part of an ongoing local feud.

Gardaí believe that yesterday's triple shooting is connected to this feud.

The dispute is understood to have escalated in recent months after the collapse of a court case involving a serious knife attack.

Since then, a number of tit-for-tat attacks have been carried out during which serious threats were made and property was damaged.

A senior source last night told the Irish Independent: "This feud has been simmering for some time and escalated in recent weeks with two gun attacks.

"It is just pure luck that there were no fatalities following this recent shooting."

A relative of the three victims described how the family were putting up a Christmas tree when shots were fired into the house.

Arthur Collins, whose son and grandson were injured in the shooting, also described the incident as "the lowest of the low".

The grandfather said he thought the gunshots were fireworks when the incident began.

"All we were doing was putting up a Christmas tree, and the next minute, bang bang bang bang bang. For nothing," he said.

"To tell you the truth, I thought it was bangers. I ran out, I saw her holding the baby, I saw my son on the ground.

"Is it gone that far now that they're going to kill children before they kill people?

"This has to be the lowest of the lowest that I've ever come across in my life.

"All I want is my son to be all right.

Bad

"My grandson is very bad in Temple Street and my son is very bad in Blanchardstown hospital. They could have killed someone here today.

"We went to Blanchardstown for this feud to be over...It's only starting now."

Yesterday, senior investigators said the three injured people were struck by a number of pellets from a shotgun.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers said: "It's shocking to see such a reckless act in a residential area."

Irish Independent

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