THREE families were rescued by members of the Garda Armed Response Unit during a mob attack in Moyross, Co Limerick, as the turf war between drug dealing gangs sank to new depths.
A large force of almost 100 armed and unarmed gardaí was involved in the operation when a mob of more than 60 youths attacked homes in the Craeval Park estate.
Despite the strong Garda presence, two houses in Moyross were the target of arsonists late last night, but there were no reports of anyone being injured.
Trouble on the estate had been brewing since the death on Wednesday of 18-year-old Darren Bennett who bled to death from stab wounds to the stomach.
Bennett, from nearby Delmege Park, was fatally injured when trouble started outside a house where he had been attending a party, in Craevel Park, Moyross, at 2am. He was taken by ambulance to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital where efforts to save him failed.
Members of the Armed Response Unit were called into the estate on Wednesday to give back-up when a group of local people tried to walk through the preserved murder scene, which had been cordoned off for forensic examination.
Last night, an angry mob gathered in the area and directed their fury at one extended family who occupy a number of houses in Craeval Park.
Six houses in the park were attacked and the families living in three of them were forced to flee the area, taking their furniture and other possessions.
“It’s gone mad here tonight. There’s a gang on the streets and families under threat are moving out. There’s a van they’re putting furniture and things into,” said one terrified resident.
Garda Supt Frank O’Brien confirmed that three families had vacated their homes.
Another source said those who left their Moyross homes last night were linked to the main suspect in the Bennett murder. Earlier yesterday, further searches were carried out in Moyross as part of the murder hunt.
It is believed that a man who has links to a local drugs family is the main suspect in the Bennett killing and was seen near the scene of the murder.
Insp John O’Reilly said they were satisfied with the progress of the investigation and the cooperation they are receiving from members of the public. He dismissed local reports that a sword had been used in the attack.
The forensic examination of the scene was completed and searches of various locations in Moyross for the murder weapon are still continuing.
There have been increased tensions in Moyross recently due to the activities of a known drug dealing family who originally come from St Mary’s Park.
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