Residents ‘not surprised’ that protection money was paid out to two criminals

By Maurice Garvey

NEWS from the High Court that Dublin City Council officials recommended money be paid to criminals operating protection rackets on Cherry Orchard building sites, has come as no surprise to the vast majority of residents in the community.

Over the last few years, local sources often wondered why criminals Derek ‘Dee Dee’ O’Driscoll and David Reilly, appeared to operate their protection rackets with impunity.

Cherry Orchard Park housing development compressor

The MDY site at Orchard Meadows in Cherry Orchard

The operation was not discreet, and perhaps that helped the CAB investigation, who said in court, that both men’s drug dealing, extortions and tax offences, funded foreign holidays, expensive cars and properties.

Late on Wednesday evening, Dublin City Council issued a statement that said they are investigating “all aspects” of the matter, and that “no payments were made” by the council “to the individuals concerned.”

However, in the High Court, a CAB officer said city council officials told builders that O’Driscoll and Reilly were “providing security” and “making sure there were no problems” at the sites.

Two city council officials were named in the court, which detailed weekly payments made by contractors to Mr Reilly, which could then be reclaimed back from the city council.

The investigation identified three construction sites, a rapid-build development by Adston Ltd on Cherry Orchard Avenue, ABM Design and Build, which had a site at Elmdale Drive, and the MDY site of 72 houses at Cherry Orchard Park, which suffered the brunt of anti-social attacks.

In January 2017, The Echo reported an increased garda presence at the MDY site – following a petrol attack into the cab area of a digger, as it was being operated by a driver.

Residents may feel the High Court action is long overdue, but it is timely nonetheless, coming as it does in the same week as plans for over 2,000 homes in the Park West – Cherry Orchard Local Area plan (LAP), were voted through the city council.

“There was frustration for two years that nothing seemed to happen,” said TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF).

“If you asked me last week, I would have been critical, but not now. It depends on what action the High Court decide to take, but it sends out the message to the city council, builders and contractors, that the State are not willing to accept this.

“There are still questions to be answered, why agencies were not able to nip it in the bud. The city council said they are investigating and the Dept of Housing will have to look at it. You don’t want these types of elements dishonestly taking money out of the public purse, money that could have been spent on more positive things for the community.”

Speaking on Wednesday at a post-budget briefing, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he is “greatly disturbed” at the reports, while Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he could not give a “concluding comment” due to the ongoing garda investigation into the matter.

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