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‘Eircode wars’ as teen is stabbed in shocking gang attack on street

Garda fears at violent clashes in rise of ‘K32’ and ‘A92’ mobs

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Images show the gangs face off outside shops

Images show the gangs face off outside shops

Images show the gangs face off outside shops

Gardaí are “deeply concerned” about the increasingly violent activities of gangs of teenagers who have been naming their crews from the eircodes of the towns and areas where they live.

In the latest violent incident linked to the ‘eircode wars’ a 19-year-old man was stabbed multiple times in a savage attack in Balbriggan on Wednesday night.

Shocking footage of the attack has since appeared on social media.

The teenager, who lives in Balbriggan, was still being treated for his injuries last night at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and there have been no arrests so far in the case.

Sources told the Herald that officers are investigating if the 19-year-old was set-upon by members of the so-called ‘K32 gang’ who have used the north Co Dublin town’s eircode as the name of their crew.

Gangs

The ‘K32 gang’ are just one of a number of teen gangs who are operating in the Balbriggan area and are suspected of a spate of assaults and public order incidents in recent weeks.

At around 9pm on Wednesday, local gardaí were alerted to the attack at Hamlet Lane and the victim, who was stabbed a number of times, was rushed to hospital.

When gardaí arrived at the scene, the badly injured 19-year-old was the only person present after a gang of youths had “dispersed from the area”.

It is understood that he is refusing to cooperate with the investigation.

A senior source said problems with gangs of male teenagers “who largely, but not exclusively” come from an ethnic minority has “seriously increased” since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March.

“It is important to point out that these eircode gangs are not just a serious problem in Balbriggan – there are big issues with them in other locations as well and not just in the wider Dublin area.

“There is a crew in Drogheda called the ‘A92 gang’ after the Louth town’s eircode and there is the ‘Dublin 15 gang’ operating in the Tyrrelstown/Blanchardstown area and there are similar gangs in Tallaght and even as far away as Cork city.

“Not everyone associated with these gangs is a criminal but there is no doubt that some members have been involved in assaults and serious public order breaches which have got worse throughout the summer months and it is a big cause for concern for gardaí,” the senior source said.

Gardaí say that a particular modus operandi for the teenage gangs is to record rap songs which are posted on social media to goad rival gangs.

“Within the lyrics of these raps, stuff is mentioned to antagonise the opposing factions – it might be about how they beat a fella up, or how they robbed an opposing person’s bike or runners,” the senior source explained.

As part of their investigations into the teenage gangs, gardaí have been closely monitoring social media and community gardaí have been liaising with church pastors and other community leaders in the effected communities.

Escalating

The garda public order unit has also been deployed to Balbriggan and other affected areas on a large number of occasions in the past month.

“In general the issue seems to be escalating and there can be no doubt that it was compounded, and probably still is, by the health pandemic.

“For months on end there was no football training or other sporting activities and there was no access to schools for groups of teenagers who had nothing to do – information available to gardaí suggests this is how lots of these youths got involved in the gangs, but of course it was an issue long before coronavirus as well,” the source explained.

Sources say that gardaí will continue to monitor the teenage gangs by “engaging with the communities as best they can”.

In London, a gang dispute known as ‘Postcode Wars’ between young men from different boroughs started in the 1990s and has resulted in multiple gang-related murders.

“Of course the situation here is nothing on that scale at all but gardaí are intent on making sure that things don’t get any worse,” the source added.

Herald