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The scene in the retail park yesterday. LMFM

Relative of well-known Drogheda criminal fights for life after retail park shooting

The victim is related to Drogheda criminal Owen Maguire.

A MAN IS fighting for his life in hospital after he was shot five times, including once in the neck, in a planned gangland attack in Drogheda, Louth, yesterday. 

The victim of the attack, a man in his 30s, was walking out of a shop in the M1 Retail Park on the outskirts of the Louth town when a car drove by and discharged a number of shots in his direction. 

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

The victim is related to Drogheda criminal Owen Maguire, who himself was shot four times at his home in July 2018 as part of this feud. Owen Maguire has a number of convictions including for threats to kill and affray. He is well-known to gardaí in the area. 

As a result of yesterday’s shooting, gardaí are putting in place an operation designed to quell any sporadic revenge attacks on the rival gang. This will include high-visibility patrols around the Moneymore and Cement Road areas of the town. Undercover armed gardaí will also be stationed around the town. The Armed Support Unit is also on standby. 

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.

Since this 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 laste 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.

Drugs crisis

Drug use and dependency is a growing problem for many in the Louth town.

Louise Mahony, manager of the Red Door Project addiction centre in Drogheda, said she has seen a huge increase in the number of people contacting its service. 

Drugs, she says, have always been a problem but now they’re getting more calls from concerned parents who say their child has racked up large debts. 

“We are an addiction service and community employment scheme – I suppose we’re not your average one. We take people in for recovery – we take everyone so long as you’re able to stand up. 

“From our point of view there’s a long history of things in Drogheda being under-resourced and we’re one of them. We’ve had a very low budget for a while now and it hasn’t changed. More people are coming in looking for help and we’re supposed to do it with the same level of funding. Year on year, everything is getting worse.”

Regarding yesterday’s gun attack, gardaí said they are looking for information about a dark coloured Volkswagen Passat seen driving from the retail park in the aftermath of the attack. 

A spokesman said: “At about 2.45 pm a man in his 30s left a premises in the M1 Retail Park in Drogheda and got into a white Vauxhall Astra with two other men. A black Volkswagen Passat with the partial registration 132 D pulled up close to the Astra and a number of shots were fired into the Astra. The man in his 30s, a passenger in the car, was struck at least once. The other two occupants were not injured.

“The driver of the white Astra managed to drive from the scene and went to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital where the injured man is being treated for serious injuries.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Drogheda Garda Station on 041 9874200.

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