Concern is mounting about a threat to children’s safety after a boy and a girl were caught up in two separate shootings within six hours.
Politicians are urging the Government to make the issue an urgent priority before a child is killed.
In the most recent incident, an 11-year-old boy sustained injuries from shotgun pellets at his home on the Belgard road, Tallaght, south-west Dublin, early on Saturday.
It came within hours of a shooting in Ballyfermot, in which a six-year-old girl had a very narrow escape. She was the pillion passenger on a motorbike driven by her father when a man opened fire. A bullet bounced off her helmet.
“These shootings are a wake up call for society,” said Seán Crowe, Sinn Féin TD for Tallaght. “It seems things are getting worse. I would not like to think it has to go to a child being killed before we respond as a society.”
He said the Belgard shooting was the “ultimate nightmare” for any family.
Mr Crowe said gardaí were under “fierce pressure” for resources. Garda numbers in Tallaght fell 14% between 2011 and 2014, from 199 to 171.
In Ballyfermot, numbers dropped 16%, from 99 to 83.
Eddie D’Arcy, a youth worker in west Dublin for 35 years, said access to guns was “a particular problem”.
“It seems to be more and more younger people and less experienced gunmen who carry out shootings. They are asked by gangs to carry out shootings. Often, they are in debt or in fear themselves. That’s a really dangerous combination.”
He said projects were needed to help young people get away from gangs and support parents intim
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