Diarmuid Martin: Communities need to be protected from gangs

Communities living “under the power” of criminal gangs need to be supported in building up their independence and in protecting their children, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has said.

Diarmuid Martin described the feuding gangs as a “cancerous group” in society, that were “uncontrolled and uncontrollable”.

The archbishop was responding to figures provided by Dublin’s police chief that there were 522 active threats to life in the capital.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said 11 of the 522 threats were categorised as “critical”, with a further 51 labelled “severe” and 171 “substantial”.

He said 10 of the 11 critical threats were in Dublin north central division, the home of many members of the Hutch family and wider criminal grouping, all targets of the Kinahan crime cartel.

Speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ radio, Archbishop Martin said: “I ask myself what do you say to families, children in some areas of Dublin and the rest of the country?

“How can we work to build safe communities, when, despite every effort that is being done, that a powerful group — everyone is living under the power of this powerful group, who use direct violence of killing, they sell drugs, and they hire young people into their systems by bribing them to do small jobs, but they are being dragged into this.”

He said: “My real concern is for the families and children in some parts of Dublin who have to live in this environment and whose chances of getting out of it become slimmer and slimmer.

In the long term we still have to ensure people who live in those communities can rise to a certain level of independence and show their disdain and that they’d be supported and that children are not left as victims it he hands of these people who are absolutely unscrupulous.

He said these groups now are in their second, even third generation.

“If I was to say to them ‘they’ll go to hell for what they do and their sins’, they’d simply laugh at me. They are laughing in their comfortable zones while other parents are crying over losing their children.”

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