Dee-struction | 

Local gangster could end Cherry Orchard joyriding chaos with ‘a click of his fingers’

“This community is at a tipping point. It can go over into the abyss or we can turn it around.”

Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll

Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll

A crowd of teenagers cheers and films (far right) as Garda car is rammed

Burnt-out cars being removed from the scene in Cherry Orchard

Local SInn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan

Sunday World

Gangster Derek ‘Dee Dee’ O’Driscoll could end the anti-social activity in Cherry Orchard “with a click of his finger” but chose not to as the chaos masks criminal activities, a source has claimed.

The west Dublin suburb hit the headlines this week when shocking footage showed a Garda car being rammed by joyriders as a crowd cheered them on.

One source told the Sunday World that the joyriding and anti-social activities, carried out by teens as young as 13 year old, is given tacit support by local gangland boss ‘Dee Dee’ O’Driscoll.

Veteran crime figure O’Driscoll – long regarded as one of Ireland’s most dangerous criminals – is said to control large sections of the drugs trade in the west of the capital.

In 2019, the High Court heard how O’Driscoll was running extortion and protections rackets in Cherry Orchard, demanding cash from construction companies building in the area.

It was reported that gangs of school kids as young as 12 were used to attack building sites at the centre of the protection racket scandal.

The source told the Sunday Worldthat local hardman O’Driscoll, could end the anti-social activity “with a click of his finger” but chose not to, as he preferred that the area descend into chaos.

A crowd of teenagers cheers and films (far right) as Garda car is rammed

A local councillor this week warned that the area is on the tipping point of falling into the abyss.

Speaking at the scene of the terrifying incident on Cherry Orchard Avenue, Sinn Féin’s Daithí Doolan said immediate intervention at the highest level is needed if the entire neighbourhood is be prevented from becoming a no-go area.

“This community is at a tipping point,” he told the Sunday World at the scene. “It can go over into the abyss or we can turn it around.”

Cllr Doolan, who said he was “up for working with others to make sure we can turn this around. I know others are up for it. The key thing today is, is the minister up for it?”

Local SInn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan

Cllr Doolan was referring to a meeting with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee that was taking place later that afternoon.

The minister was gathering with community leaders, where she gave a commitment that the Government would respond, and announced that €135,000 confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) will be invested in a youth project in the area.

Gardaí also carried out six searches relating to the incidents in Cherry Orchard yesterday morning, which followed earlier dawn raids on six homes during the week.

Mobile phones and items of clothing have been seized for examination and analysis although no arrests have yet been made.

Cllr Doolan said he would leave the minister “in no doubt about what needs to be done”.

“It’s very simple. There is a plan for Cherry Orchard but it needs to be supported and resourced at the highest level of Cabinet. There’s a deep division, a lack of trust between the Gardaí and the community.

“That can only be bridged by adequate resources for the Gardaí who are operating in very difficult circumstances.

Burnt-out cars being removed from the scene in Cherry Orchard

“We need at least 30 gardaí for this area, five sergeants and three cars to provide this community with a Garda force that is present, is accountable, is visible and accessible. Because at the moment they’re none of the above.”

Cllr Doolan added that while it was absolutely terrifying for the gardaí involved in last week’s incident, “it was also equally terrifying for the residents who have to endure this on a nightly basis”.

“We wish the gardaí a full and speedy recovery but they left the scene, while the residents have to live here and witness it every night and that’s the real torture.

“In early January ,there were six nights when the Gardaí couldn’t intervene and wouldn’t intervene because they didn’t have the ability to intervene.

“And it has peaked and troughed right through the summer. Residents here in this community have been terrorised and held to ransom by a handful of a very small group of young people who are driving around in robbed cars.

“And you can see the aftermath where the road is burned out, there is the burnt-out park behind us and the gates that have been torched. And this goes all the way down to Cherry Orchard.

“But what we’ve noticed is the pattern has changed. Earlier this year, when it peaked in late January, there were 17, 18, 19-year-olds driving these cars.

“But now they’re younger, 13, 14, 15 – way too young to be behind the wheel of a car let alone a robbed car. They are a danger to themselves and everybody else.

“And I’ve spoken with some of these young people. I’ve met them and I’ve I asked them, why did they do it. And the reason they do would break your heart.

“They told me, ‘I feel safe, I feel part of something. I feel wanted. They are saying it’s safer to be there than at home, it’s safer to be there than elsewhere in this community.

"There’s no point in coming out here and throwing a bit of cash around. It’s working with those families, with those young people, changing their behaviour and rebuilding this community.”

Referring to the bystanders who were captured on camera egging on the joyriders, Cllr Doolan said: “I witnessed that further down the road here in January and I was actually attacked by some of the people in the crowd and assaulted.

“There were about 100 to 150 people out the night I was down there, cheering on the drivers. But 99% of those young people wouldn’t be out on the streets if the cars weren’t there.

“Some of them were local, some of them weren’t. Some were just there because that’s their entertainment.

“If you have ever witnessed joyriding, it is absolutely terrifying but there’s a massive adrenaline rush for those involved.

“And you have five or six people at the centre of it, organising it, controlling it and the rest are what I would say are just hangers or ordinary kids.

“The Gardaí need to be getting into the social media, finding who’s organising it, when are they organising it, and then respond proactively.”

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