Children were playing gangland ‘feud games’ in the schoolyard during the height of the murderous Kinahan-Hutch feud, according to the senior officer who led the garda battle against the gangs.
Pat Leahy, who retires as an assistant commissioner after 38 years in the organisation, also said that teenagers “groomed” into gangs by the lure of wealth and power often end up either “perpetrating violence or being victims of it”.
In a lengthy interview with the Irish Examiner, the Cork native said the peak of the Kinahan “extermination” campaign in Dublin’s northeast inner city – in which four people were shot dead in just over three months in 2016 – was “undoubtedly” the toughest time in his career.
He said schoolkids were affected: “This even had an impact on the schools in the area where children were walking through high visibility armed checkpoints on their way to school and afterwards on their way to the shops.
“It was reported to us that children were playing games based on the feud and that it was an ongoing topic of conversation in the schoolyard.”
Read Cormac O’Keefe’s full profile of Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy in today’s Irish Examiner