A garda investigation has been launched following a series of attacks and break-ins at an estate in Tallaght, Dublin, where a number of immigrant families were among those targeted.

One Nigerian man was racially abused when he returned to his home in the Sundale estate to find a group of youths had broken in.

"They broke down his front door and when he got home they racially abused him out on the street," said mayor of South Dublin County Council and Sundale resident Marie Corr.

"Two Indian families also had their properties attacked. It is the same group of young people who mostly live outside the estate that are responsible."

A garda source said officers were informed that a Nigerian man moved from the area last month because of the level of racial abuse he was subjected to by a group of teenagers and that rotten chickens were placed on the doorstep of another immigrant family.

Some Irish residents have also had their homes attacked and windows broken and one man was physically attacked in the street after he parked his car in the estate.

"There could be a racial element to some of the attacks but it could also just be general thuggish behaviour because some Irish people have also been victims," Corr added.

Gardaí have met with concerned residents and have also spoken to some of the teenagers involved in the incidents.

They are investigating whether some of the attacks were racially motivated.

"The gardaí have taken it very seriously and I've provided them with names and details of those involved," Corr said.

"The incidents have subsided. The positive thing to come out of all of this is that we have formed a residents' committee as a result and the Indian and Nigerian community have now become much more integrated and are getting to know their neighbours.

"There are about 700 houses in the estate and the teenagers involved in this anti-social behaviour are from two houses in this estate, the rest are from outside the estate."

Superintendent Eamon Dolan at Tallaght garda station said: "Investigations are ongoing" into the series of incidents in the area and there has been a strong garda presence since the complaints have been made.

Some immigrant families have been targeted by the gang of youths because they have fewer links to the community and consequently are seen as easy targets and are less likely to retaliate, gardaí believe.