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Brother of Drogheda criminal shot just days after armed support cover and overtime cuts

Brendan Maguire was shot as he walked out of a toyshop in a retail park on Tuesday afternoon.

Graffiti at the entrance to the Moneymore estate in Drogheda.
Graffiti at the entrance to the Moneymore estate in Drogheda.
Image: Garreth MacNamee

THERE HAVE BEEN calls for significant investment in garda resources in the north-east of the country following the daylight shooting of a man connected to a gang feud in Louth. 

Local reps, as well as TDs and community activists, have urged garda management to facilitate more resources in the Louth area following the shooting of Brendan Maguire – the brother of convicted criminal Owen Maguire. 

Brendan was shot as he walked out of a toyshop in a retail park on Tuesday afternoon.

He was travelling with two other men at the time. They sustained no physical injuries. Maguire managed to make his way to Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital where his condition is still being described as critical.

As a result of Tuesday’s shooting, gardaí have put in place an operation designed to quell any possible revenge attacks on the rival gang. This plan includes high-visibility patrols around the Moneymore and Cement Road areas of the town. Undercover armed gardaí will also be stationed around the town. 

‘Running riot’

The Drogheda policing district received 18 new probationer gardaí in recent months. However, according to Labour’s Ged Nash, just three have been retained. 

Other flaws within the policing of the district have also been raised this week. Politicians have said that just one garda car is available in Drogheda at any one time. 

Nash said that gangs “are running riot” in the area.

“There is an ongoing and violent criminal feud in the town which is wreaking havoc and putting lives at risk,” he said in a statement issued yesterday. 

Last week, an overtime ban was introduced and full Armed Response Unit cover was withdrawn from Drogheda.

“Local gardaí have been working exceptionally hard to maintain order and to investigate and arrest those responsible for the mayhem in the town in recent months. They need the support of senior Management and the minister.”

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan echoed Nash’s comments. 

He said: “It is imperative that the general public are guarded from crime and danger. The garda overtime ban which was recently put in place in the district must be lifted in these extenuating circumstances especially as there is a strong prospect of retaliation.

“More garda resources are required in Drogheda in order to meet the threat posed to the people of the town by this ongoing feud.”

Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster, who is from the town, added: “The people of Drogheda are living in fear.”

The feud

The two feuding gangs have been vying for the lucrative drug trade in the town with reports from local representatives that some children are being forced to work in criminality as a result. 

On 5 July, Owen Maguire was shot a number of times at his home on Cement Road in Drogheda. He somehow survived being shot at least four times at close range with a handgun.

He was left with life-changing injuries following this attack and has been receiving specialist rehabilitative care. The attack on his brother is expected to escalate the feud. 

Since that shooting, the two gangs have been exchanging tit-for-tat attacks – mainly in the form of firing shots at people’s homes. But violence erupted late last year between the two gangs – one predominantly comprising members of the Traveller community, the other settled men. 

In November of last year, a man in his 20s was found beaten and with stab wounds in a bathroom of a house. The man sustained serious wounds to his face and body. Gardaí understand the attackers targeted the man’s knees with a knife. 

The gangs had been targeting each other with petrol bombs, acts of vandalism and assaults in the months leading up to Christmas. However, the number of incidents had reduced since the New Year until this week’s shooting. 

Gardaí had been keeping a lid on matters by increasing patrols around trouble black spots, as well as carrying out surveillance operations on targets. However, informed sources told TheJournal.ie that the ASU cuts – as well as losing the extra officers the district received prior to Christmas – has resulted in officers being unable to carry out the policing they wish to do.

Responding to the criticism of resources, a garda spokesman said: “Local garda management closely monitors the allocation of all resources in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a district, divisional and regional level, to ensure optimum use is made of garda resources, and the best possible garda service is provided to the public.

“Senior garda management is satisfied that a full and comprehensive policing service continues to be delivered and that current structures in place meet the requirement to deliver an effective and efficient policing service to the community.”

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