The Archbishop of Dublin has said violence in the capital has taken on an "unprecedented level of depravity".

In a statement at the Pro-Cathedral this morning, Diarmuid Martin said families have been left terrified and children have witnessed brutality "that will leave scars on their lives for years".

A spate of shootings in recent weeks, which gardaí believe are connected to an ongoing criminal gang feud in west Dublin, has left three people dead.

The most recent gun attack occurred outside a Lidl supermarket on Blakestown Way in west Dublin in front of shoppers.

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The victim, who is known to gardaí, was shot in the stomach and seriously injured.

Dr Martin said: "The perpetrators and sponsors of such violence merit nothing but rejection and distain.

"They belong behind bars and their business of death must be undermined and destroyed."

He also said that overt displays at funerals of those involved in violence will not be allowed.

"Where it can be ascertained that individuals hold direct responsibility in this traffic in evil they will no longer be allowed to exploit religious services in the Archdiocese of Dublin to enhance their image," he said.

Dr Martin appealed to anyone who can provide information "about this sickening underworld to have the courage and the decency to come forward" and asked "civil and community leaders to show a united and uncompromising response".

The garda officer in charge of policing Dublin has said that a generation of young men are becoming involved in organised crime.

Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy said gardaí believe the murders of two 22-year-old men, Sean Little and Jordan Davis, reflects the power and ruthlessness of those involved in drug dealing and various forms of organised crime.

Mr Little was found dead at Walshestown on 21 May, while Mr Davis was shot dead the following afternoon, as he pushed his baby in a buggy near Our Lady Immaculate National School in Darndale.

A week later, 41-year-old Hamid Sanambar was shot dead at the family home of his friend Mr Little.

His death brought the number of gang-related murders so far this year to six.

Dr Martin’s comments have been welcomed by Independent Dublin City Councillor John Lyons, who said "it is right and proper" that the Archbishop advocated the use of civil funerals.

Mr Lyons said criminal gangs "are looking to build-up the image of gangland heroes", and he said that "sends out the wrong message to young people in the affected areas."

He said he "hopes people will listen" to Dr Martin and he added that "anybody who has a public position, such as the Archbishop, has a responsibility to intervene in this escalating situation."