Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

17.25 27 May 2020


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Locals in Portmarnock and Baldoyle have expressed shock and anger at a recent increase in anti-social behaviour in the area.

There have been a number of reports of large gangs of youths gathering in the Dublin suburbs in the wake of the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions.

Several recent altercations in the area have led to some serious injuries.

The Hard Shoulder's Henry McKean spoke to locals and politicians from the area.

North Dublin locals shocked and angry after 'vicious' attacks involving gangs of youths

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One man in Baldoyle explained: “A young fella was very seriously injured - he got five or six belts with a lump hammer or a claw hammer. It was a shocking sight to see.

“They’ve no social outlets, no youth clubs, no football clubs… the schools are closed. It’s having a detrimental impact on them.

“They were not from Baldoyle. It’s a very quiet residential area. There’s never been trouble like this before, but it’s accentuated ten-fold since COVID-19.”

Social Democrats Councillor Joan Hopkins, who represents the Howth and Malahide area, lives in Baldoyle.

She said: “I got a call to say there had been an incident in Portmarnock, where a child had been attacked by a gang. An off-duty guard and his son had intervened, and they’d been beaten up.

“Another incident in Baldoyle [saw] a teenage boy set upon by a gang of kids, and they had attacked him and hit him with a hammer. The child was hospitalised. I found that really shocking… very upsetting.

“It was four o’clock in the day, in a park that I use to go to the tennis club or train station… a park I feel very safe in.

“As a councillor you feel a bit helpless - these kind of things shouldn’t happen in civilised society.”

She suggested long-term interventions will be needed to address the anti-social issues.

She said: "If it’s boredom or drugs or whatever, we need to invest in [dealing with] these areas. We need more community guards, and they need to be more visible.”

Sean Haughey, Fianna Fáil TD from Dublin Bay North, said the two attacks on young people in Baldoyle and Portmarnock over the past fortnight were 'vicious'.

He said: “The recent good weather, and the increase in travel restrictions to 5km has seen reports of large gangs of teenagers or young people congregating in parks, beaches and public open spaces on the northside of Dublin… engaging in all sorts of anti-social behaviour and terrorising families and other people generally.

Deputy Haughey said he’s been assured there have been increased garda patrols in response to the recent issues, with public order units also involved.

He added: “I should say that most young people have acted responsibly during the pandemic.

“But anti-social behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud as we face into what looks like a long, hot summer.”


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