Dublin Fire Services attended a blaze yesterday evening in the vicinity of the Chapel Grove area Balbriggan following an apparent arson attack at a house linked to a dispute between rival African gangs. The attack occurred after a weekend of increased street level altercations between various groups of African youths.
Shortly before 8pm crews from the Fire Service arrived on scene at the North Dublin housing estate responding to what appeared to be an arson attack on a semi-detached property already engulfed in flames.
In conjunction with this, footage appeared online of accumulated gangs of African origin running through the estate while the house was still a blaze. While a formal examination of the blaze and its origins have yet to be conducted, it appears from the outside that the house has been totally gutted with serious damage done to the adjacent property.
Speaking to residents, the fire apparently resulted from the throwing of an incendiary device into the garden shed of the semi-detached house, with the inferno spreading to consume the entire property.
The arson attack comes amid long term issues with violence among predominately African gangs in the parish, with the epicentre being the Castlemill Shopping Centre nearby to where the fire occurred.
Locals report regular street brawling occurring outside the nearby Dunnes Stores from rival African gangs with local Gardaí apparently hopeless at tackling the issue.
Balbriggan has become something of a hotbed of anti-social behaviour the past few years, causing particular friction and media awkwardness due to the racial nature of the violence.
The day before, Gardaí were called to disturbances outside Castlemill Shopping centre involving approximately 30 youths of largely African descent. This resulted in the deployment of the Garda helicopter to assist officers. A regular feature of life for residents has been increasing harassment while going shopping at the local Dunnes Stores, normally by the same gang of African youths turning the town into their stomping ground.
As of the time of writing no arrests have been made, with Gardaí currently looking for any information about the event. According to Balbriggan residents the area has been blighted by a stark increase in narcocrime related to the African gangs operating at a street level.
An increasing multicultural flash point, in December of 2017 Balbriggan came to public attention due to public protests over out of control crime with strong racial undertones, culminating in large protests outside the parish Garda station.
There followed rather cynical attempts by mainstream media in Ireland to sugarcoat the situation, portraying Balbriggan as the model for the new multicultural future in Ireland.
According to census figures for the year 2016, 11% of the town is of African origin, a figure weighted towards the under 25 demographic and augmented by the nearby presence of the Mosney refugee Centre.
While the fire was quickly put under control Sunday night, the long term social ramifications of the ongoing demographic change occurring in the town paints a rather dark picture for its prospects. Where one Dublin seaside town is today demographically, the rest of the country is on track to follow unless the Irish get their collective act in order.
Images from Twitter used for reporting purposes