A local councillor has described scenes of “mayhem” in a west Dublin community after five nights of so-called joyriding and street violence.
Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan said he got a “box in the back of the head” by a youth in the crowd gathered to see cars speeding around the Cherry Orchard estate in Ballyfermot, including at least one that was set alight.
The representative, who is chair of the Dublin South Central Policing Committee, said it was the fifth night in a row of ‘joyriding’ disturbances for the area.
“There has been violence going on every night since last Friday, cars lashing around that area of Cherry Orchard,” said Cllr Doolan. “It’s happening night, after night, after night, with little response as it is happening from gardaí.”
He accepted gardaí are overstretched and under-resourced and can only go into the area when the disturbances are happening when they have sufficient numbers.
“They simply don’t have enough numbers in Ballyfermot and people there are not getting the police service they deserve,” he said.
Cllr Doolan said the leading up to Wednesday night locals were ringing him: “I was getting call after call, broken-hearted women, there's a lot of single mothers there, being terrorised in their home, cars set alight outside their gates.”
He said the disturbances reached “fever pitch” on Tuesday night and he was on the phone to gardaí to remove a burnt-out car straight away.
“The rallying terrifies people," he said. "You have the burning of the car and it's left there during the next day for all and sundry to pull it apart.”
He said he visited the residents on Wednesday night: “I popped up to see how residents were doing and low and behold a car was being rallied around. The place was going bonkers. I rang 999, TDs and city mangers to get them to ring 999.
“It was mayhem, mayhem up there. I’ve been in situations and I’ve never witnessed anything like that.”
He said he got a blow: “There were about 100 young people egging the drivers on and a guy out of nowhere gave me an almighty box in the back of the head, he hit me and left.
“I left an hour later and, then, the gardaí responded in force. They can respond when they need to, but it should happen every night regardless of ringing 999.”
Garda HQ said they have conducted a number of operations in the area in recent days.
In a statement, it said: “Gardaí at Ballyfermot have responded to incidents of dangerous driving in the Cherry Orchard/Croftwood Estate on the evening of 25 and 26 January.”
It said enquiries were ongoing into the incidents and appealed to anyone who may have information on those involved to contact gardaí.
The statement said: “Additional patrols are in place to prevent any recurrence of similar incidents.”
In an earlier statement, gardaí said they carried out a search operation on Wednesday morning regarding illegal scrambler use in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin.
Five homes were searched and seven scramblers and one quad bike were seized. Two of the bikes were stolen.