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Report published Ambitious plan to rid Darndale of thugs and evict criminals announced

As far back as 1991, graffiti at the entrance to Darndale announced “Welcome to Darndale – twinned with Beirut”, the report states.

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Darndale

Darndale

Gerry Mooney

Darndale

An ambitious plan to pull Darndale out of escalating levels of murder, violence, drug dealing and intimidation will see people involved in such crimes being evicted from the area, according to a new report.

Entitled ‘Darndale – A Long View of an Enduring Problem’, the report commissioned by Dublin City Council makes a rangeof recommendations for the Darndale, Belcamp and Moatview areas of north Dublin.

Written by former Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan, it says the negative influences are currently winning out over the positive ones in the area.

The report recommends the coordination of local services, the creation of a community policing hub, and ridding the area of the eyesores of litter, boarded-up houses, and general decay.

But it also recommends that Dublin City Council take a harder line on enforcing tenancy agreements, and evicting or relocating people involved in anti-social or criminal behaviour.

The report also highlights how a number of people associated with the general area of Coolock were killed in violent circumstances in 2019-2020, including Eoin Boylan, Zach Parker, Sean Little, Hamid Sanambar and Jordan Davis.

It says body parts identified as belonging to Drogheda teen Keane Mulready-Woods were dumped in Moatview.

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Darndale pictured

Darndale pictured

Gerry Mooney

Darndale pictured

The Darndale estates, with a population of more than 6,000, are now almost 50 years old, much of which has been troublesome.

“From the early 1970s,the initial promise of a fresh start for many residents quickly evaporated when the poor design of the new estates manifested in difficulties associated with access, orientation and layout.

“This was quickly followed by the exodus of many residents who availed of the ‘surrender grant’ to purchase their own homes in other parts of the city, leaving the area deprived of many of the civic-minded people who drive and organise community activities and clubs, so important for communities to thrive,” it adds.

Unemployment is significantly higher than the national average, with 36pc unemployed compared to 4.8pc nationally pre Covid-19. Almost 30pc of residents of Darndale, Belcamp, and Moatview say that they have no formal education or primary school only, in contrast to a national average of 13pc.

As far back as 1991, graffiti at the entrance to Darndale announced “Welcome to Darndale – twinned with Beirut”, the report states.

Mr Nolan said a number of key themes emerged during the consultations process while he was drafting the report.

“The first significant theme that presented over and over again was fear of crime and intimidation followed by gangs and drug dealing.

“The next issue that emerged was, as one professional working in the area put it, ‘the kids just grow up too early here’."

When asked what would make a difference to the area it generally resulted in a request for more policing, CCTV systems, more action by DCC on anti-social behaviours, indiscriminate dumping and removal of troublesome and disruptive tenants.”

Mr Nolan said in the report that current gangs are considered more dangerous, violent, and frightening than in previous times, with a tendency to aggressively intimidate, threaten, or engage in violence without significant fear or concern of the outcomes.

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Darndale

Darndale

Gerry Mooney

Darndale

“This lack of concern for the consequences of violence or crime was recounted by interviewees from all walks of life in the area, with anecdotes of youths having access to guns and other weapons being a regular feature of conversations,” he said.

“Intimidation was also highlighted as a problem, where criminals allege that a sum of money is owed as a result of a drug debt.

“Stories emerged of youths as young as 15 calling to homes of other youths as young as 12 demanding drug debts payments of as little as €30 to €50 and warning of repercussions otherwise.”

Dublin Bay North TD Richard Bruton welcomed the report’s publication.

“It’s the first of its kind I’ve seen and recognises the embedded nature of crime and fear in the area.

“But it focuses on the assets of the region too, and how to develop them and coordinate them,” he told the Herald.

“I have asked the Taoiseach to mobilise resources to breathe life into this plan, and I got a positive reaction,” he added.

Deputy Bruton said he did not know what the plan would cost to implement, but stressed it would be an investment in the area.

“The cost involved in someone going astray is huge, and if this plan reduces that, it can only be good,” he said.

Asked if evicting or relocating troublesome people from Darndale would only push the problems onto a different community, Mr Bruton said the threat of relocation or eviction could lead to a better understanding that tenancy contracts need to be respected.

He said that tenants need to be confident that the rules will be applied, and the council needs to take a hard line and show they will go the distance to help those who adhere to the rules.

Herald