The other (north) side of Dublin
I lived in Dublin for several years but I never realised it was so bad on the northside. I guess I should be glad I lived on the southside. The Guardian reports on the problems in one Dublin suburb.
The Westies, one of the most dangerous of Dublin's organised crime gangs, dominated the local heroin trade in the 90s and still operate. But in an area where some children drop out of school at 11, the gangsters are becoming younger and better armed, with sawn-off shotguns sometimes handed to teenagers. One Dublin newspaper described the new gangs as "mini-armies".
One of the leading younger hard men was a figure worthy of one of Ireland's best gangster biopics. Declan Curran was a local drug addict and teenage car thief. By 24, he was linked to violent bank robberies, assaults, drive-by shootings and gangland executions.
He had worn a colostomy bag since 19 when he was shot in the back and lost a kidney fleeing a gunman during a feud. But he refused to let it hold him back. He took steroids to pump himself up and was addicted to cocaine