A local councillor in the Finglas area has claimed that vulnerable young people are being “preyed upon” by drug gangs who want to “get them into their world.”
Fianna Fáil Cllr Paul McAuliffe was responding to the abduction of a 14-year-old in Finglas on Monday night.
The teenager was rescued from the boot of a car after armed gardaí in the area pursued the vehicle, which was being driven erratically, and was abandoned when it entered Kippure Park, in a cul-de-sac, the Garda said in a statement.
The incident happened at about 7.30pm. It is understood the teenager was allegedly abducted from Hazelcroft Road in Finglas by four men and bundled into the boot of the car a short time before gardaí came upon the vehicle.
Gardaí pursued the men, who abandoned the car and fled on foot. One man was apprehended after a chase on foot. Gardaí then discovered the teenager locked in the boot of the car.
Cllr McAuliffe told RTÉ Radio’sshow that he had heard stories of young people being offered “a tray of curried chips” to transport drugs.
Once they are enticed to become involved they are then offered shoes and tracksuits.
As teenagers we all make mistakes, but not ones that define the rest of our life.
He said that Monday night’s incident “was the abuse of a child.” He pointed out that the driver was an adult. “It was wrong, it shouldn’t have happened.”
It would not be enough to charge the driver with a motoring offence. This was far more serious, he said.
Cllr McAuliffe said that there has been an increased in garda activity in the area, which was welcome. The Finglas Safety Forum, which is a joint project between the local authority and the gardaí was working well, he said. “But the gardaí can’t be everywhere.”
He warned that it was important not to judge a community by this one event, he acknowledged that it was unfortunate there were more and more incidents happening in relation to drugs.
The problem was two-fold, he said – young people are being used by criminals and there was also an increase in crimes involving stolen cars. The term ‘joy riding’ is being used again for the first time in years, he added.
“It is worrying that these two factors are becoming a common occurrence.”