Graffiti at the entrance to the Moneymore housing estate. Garreth MacNamee

Gardaí carry out additional patrols after Drogheda gang boss's threats to rivals

At least 25 more gardaí are being drafted in to police the region due to the resurgence of violence in the the Louth area in the last six months

GARDAÍ TASKED WITH keeping a lid on the Drogheda gang feud believe that violence could flare again soon after one of the gang’s leaders issued threats to a number of criminal rivals since his release from prison.

At least 25 more gardaí are being drafted in to police the region due to the resurgence of violence in the Louth area in the last six months. There have been a number of serious incidents of violence in the town – most recently a gun attack on a man on 21 June.

The release of a gangland criminal in May of this year has only heightened tensions and resulted in more armed patrols in areas where the man and his associates were known to frequent. 

The man himself left Ireland soon after his release and spent time in the UK before heading to Bulgaria. He is now back in Ireland and detectives in the region are regularly carrying out surveillance on both him and his criminal associates. 

The ongoing feud began in July last year, when Owen Maguire was shot and wounded a number of times at his home on Cement Road.

Since the shooting, two gangs have been exchanging tit-for-tat attacks – mainly in the form of firing shots at people’s homes.

Violence erupted again in November between the two gangs and extra resources and armed-response units were deployed to the Louth region as a result of the upsurge of violence. 

Gardaí in both Drogheda and nearby Balbriggan are sharing intelligence on the man and his gang. Officers received intelligence that he had been issuing threats to criminals in the north Dublin areas as well as Louth prior to his release from prison in May of this year. 

A number of inflammatory posts on social media between feuding gang members have also caught the attention of gardaí. Chief Superintendent for the region Christy Mangan has said these posts must be investigated. 

He said: “An area of particular concern is the use of social media to display criminal acts such as violent assaults or dangerous driving.

“We investigate all such instances with a view to prosecute. It is important people realise it is not acceptable to behave in such a fashion and there are consequences for your actions.”

The man had been in prison for endangering the life of a garda. The sentence hearing at the time heard how the fear the garda felt in the wake of the incident at Balbriggan garda station caused him to consider leaving the force.

Organisers of the Fleadh Cheoil, which is scheduled to take place in Drogheda next month, have already begun liaising with members of An Garda Síochana, as well as other emergency services, regarding safety of visitors ahead of the event which takes place in August. 

“We have been working closely - as we did last year – with locals and the chief superintendent here in Drogheda,” secretary of the Fleadh, Paddy Donnelly said. 

“We meet on a regular basis with gardaí – there’s a statutory structure there – so we meet with the gardaí, the HSE, the fire service, and planning service from Louth County Council.”

A garda spokesperson confirmed there would be a briefing ahead of the festival in the weeks to come and all concerns would be addressed at that.

There is a comprehensive policing and security plan in place for every event we attend.

With reporting by Conor McCrave

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