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Saturday 16 December 2017

Slain criminal's neighbour warns of 'glamorous' lure of ruthless gangs

Campaigners Susan Collins and Jimmy Norman of ARC. Photo: Damien Eagers
Campaigners Susan Collins and Jimmy Norman of ARC. Photo: Damien Eagers

Jane O'Faherty

An anti-drugs campaigner who lived just six doors away from murdered criminal David Byrne has warned that young kids are being lured into a seemingly glamorous gangster lifestyle.

Susan Collins, who is managing director of Addiction Response Crumlin (ARC), said children and teens could often be seduced by the promise of wealth from carrying drugs for gangs.

She told the Irish Independent: "You see someone and they have the big car, the nice house and the runners and they're in crime, and you can't get a job. They offer you some way in - are you going to sit at home and get your €100 off the Government?

"Or are you going to be tempted to go in for the big house, big car and holidays?" she continued.

Ms Collins encouraged young kids not to fall victim to crime's promise of wealth, but added it was often hard to convince them otherwise.

ARC is one of the few organisations in the country that offers addiction services directed at young people.

Jimmy Norman, ARC's under-18s services team leader, said kids are often roped into criminal activity through being intimidated over debts they have. But he stressed that life in a gang rarely lived up to expectations.

"One week, a person is getting intimidated," he said. "But once his debt is cleared, that same young person is the intimidator of one of his friends, who last week was intimidating him. The tables are turned straight away."

Mr Norman added that children as young as 12 have been acting as drugs couriers for gangs in Crumlin.

Irish Independent

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