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File photo. Leah Farrell

Armed gardaí on patrol in Longford as 'temporary deterrent' to violence

Armed gardaí have been seen patrolling the town in recent days.

ARMED GARDAÍ HAVE been patrolling Longford town’s streets as a preventative measure after fights have been breaking out in the middle of the day for several weeks.

The incidents vary in gravity: the majority Public Order related, but also include serious assaults, criminal damage, arson and a shooting incident, Gardaí said.

Garda Dave Conroy, a Garda Representative Association member for the Longford-Roscommon area, and who works as a garda in Ballymahon, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the current Garda measures to tackle the violence are a “temporary deterrent”. 

He said that the two sides in the feud couldn’t be convinced, and that the only solution would be a fully resourced garda presence in Longford town. 

“To be honest, I don’t see a full-time solution and the only full-time solution is the proper resourcing of the police service in Longford, and enough uniformed gardaí visible and accessible to the public in the streets.”

He said that the armed Garda presence was “definitely a large deterrent to the feuding factions in Longford at the moment”, and that once the armed presence goes, that the violence will break out again. 

Absolutely… Longford town is totally under resourced with police members trying to protect and serve the people in Longford.

He said that they were currently operating on a “fire brigade service” in Longford, going straight from call-to-call. 

“The gardaí at the moment are pinned by their collars… but it’s just pure numbers.”

Conroy said that he couldn’t comment on how long the armed Gardaí would be in Longford town for, but said that it would be “down to budgets”. 

“Currently we’re operating on a very tight overtime budget in Longford as well.”

Conroy said that gardaí “need to be in their faces”, and need “pro-active policing”.

Every these people are on the streets carrying out unlawful acts, there needs to be a garda beside them, there needs to be a garda monitoring them.

In a statement to, An Gardaí Síochána said: “Gardaí in Longford and Granard Districts are to be assisted by Western Region Armed Support Units as part of Operation Stola, designed to manage the ongoing incidents of violence linked to criminal activity in Co Longford.

“Investigating Gardaí in Longford and Granard Districts have conducted a number of arrests as part of this operation, and up to 15 individuals are presently before the courts for offences linked directly to the ongoing investigations. In addition, a number of files are in preparation or have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

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