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mob feuds Volatile criminals like Blanchardstown gun suspect Daniel Goulding hold their own communities to ransom

The path that brought Goulding to the window of his mother’s home is one that is soaked in blood, death and chaos

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Convicted drug dealer Daniel Goulding

Convicted drug dealer Daniel Goulding

Convicted drug dealer Daniel Goulding

The chaotic life of gangland thug Daniel Goulding came to an abrupt and dramatic finale when he walked quietly from his Blanchardstown home two hours after a crazy shootout with gardaí turned his neighbourhood into the wild west.

The 38-year-old is likely to face serious charges in connection with the events of last night, which saw two garda injured with gunshot wounds and a media blackout during a shocking standoff.

I’m not one for saying that those injuries aren’t serious.

The same bullet that hit one detective in the foot and another in the arm could quite easily have lodged in their hearts, spines or other areas of the body sure to cause death or permanent life-changing injuries.

This was no trained sniper aiming to cause the least damage against an enemy but an out of control and indiscriminate thug, armed and incredibly dangerous.

The path that brought Goulding to the window of his mother’s home on Whitechapel Grove in Blanchardstown is one that is soaked in blood, death and chaos and which can be traced right back to the notorious Westies mob who have left an indelible mark on the Dublin suburb two decades after they held power.

The Westies, made up of Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates, emerged as part of a new a generation of drug dealers far more ruthless and ambitious than what had gone before.

They were born out of the new estates of Blanchardstown, a sprawling suburb which had grown from a rural village to the largest urban area of north Dublin.

Coates and Suggs were top targets of the gardaí by the time they were teenagers and took the well worn path from small time criminal, to armed robbery and eventually into the lucrative trade of cocaine and heroin.

They built an army and went to war with gangs in neighbouring estates of Fortlawn, Corduff and Hartstown and built a reputation for violence that remains legendary today.

Stories abounded about people getting cut up for owing a few pounds, drug users being held by the ankles from the Ballymun towers and disloyal customers facing a holiday in intensive care should they fail to pay up or buy from a rival dealer.

Along with his brother David, Daniel Goulding was a member of the Westies mob throughout the late 1990s and into the early noughties.

But as their activities intensified and the money rolled in, tensions and in fighting did too.

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When the Westies mob imploded Sugg and Coates fled to Spain in order to muscle in on the action in the Costa Blanca. Back home Bernard ‘Verb’ Sugg was left to take care of their interests but he was gunned down in a pub in 2003.

Andrew ‘Madser’ Glennon and his younger brother Mark were blamed.

Once part of the Westies mob they became targets of their former friends and allies. They were killed in 2005 and a year later the bodies of Sugg and Coates were found buried under concrete in a warehouse in Spain.

The Goulding brothers hopped from side to side and were understood to have fallen out with the Glennons at the time of their death but quickly became close to a new crew led by murdered gangster Michael ‘Micka’ Kelly.

In 2009 David Goulding was jailed for interfering with the principal prosecution witness in an attempted murder trial and was later shot six times but survived the attack.

In 2009 Daniel Goulding got six years for cocaine possession but has more than 30 other convictions.

Both brothers have on-going rivalry with criminal Jason ‘Jay’ O’Connor which has led to huge tensions in the Blanchardstown area.

His has been a chaotic life in and out of prison and each time returning to the underbelly of organised crime.

He is exactly the type of dangerous and out of control volatile gangland character who puts the lives of our gardaí at risk on a daily basis.

And his actions along with those of others have had a huge effect on Blanchardstown and Clonsilla where ordinary people try their best to bring up their kids away from the shadow of gangland crime.

They too have been held hostage in their own homes for years by these thugs.

Gardaí will always respond to a threat to the community which is their job in an ordered society. But that can put them on the front line in this senseless and reckless war.

Last year Ballymun thug Derek ‘Bottler’ Devoy was jailed for 15 years after he ‘ran amok’ with a loaded machine gun before ending up in a bathtub with three unarmed gardaí as they struggled to arrest him.

During the chaos, the Special Criminal Court heard, a primed hand grenade rolled onto the floor of the bathroom where gardaí had cornered Devoy but failed to detonate.

One unarmed garda ‘narrowly avoided being shot in the head’ during the arrest.

Devoy had a long history in gangland and his own brother and sister had been shot dead in separate incidences.

There is a school of thought that volatile criminals like Devoy and like Goulding should be identified and locked up for life before they can threaten the lives of gardaí or other innocent people in the community.

But that isn’t democracy where the burden of proof on the State is enormous and where the law can often seem to be on the side of the criminal.

We vote for that and it’s the way we must live to protect the innocent.

But that comes with a cost and the thugs have another trump card they can rely on to boot.

Within their own communities, omerta and fear protect many dangerous criminals and allow them continue their tyranny for a lot longer than they should.

Goulding is likely to be charged in the coming days in connection with the dangerous shooting, which has left two garda physically injured and no doubt has traumatised many at the scene for years to come.

Let's hope that he is afforded no protection by his own community, who have lived in fear from him and others for decades, and that a society horrified by what it has become can stand up and fight back.

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