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'Enough is enough': Thousands take part in rally against violence in Drogheda

The rally was being held after the “hideous and barbaric” murder of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods.

Three women at the protest against violence in Drogheda today.
Three women at the protest against violence in Drogheda today.
Image: Leah Farrell

Updated Jan 25th 2020, 3:55 PM

OVER 1,000 PEOPLE turned out on Drogheda’s West Street to send a message to the Louth town’s drug gangs that their wave of violence will not be tolerated. 

From early this afternoon, locals began to throng the streets, as they awaited the group which marched from the Bridge of Peace to the nearby St Peter’s Church. 

The rally was non-political. We did not hear from any party leaders from the podium. Instead, the town heard from civic leaders, under the guidance of its mayor, councillor Paul Bell, who walked through West Street to rapturous applause. 

The rally was being held after the “hideous and barbaric” murder of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods, whose body parts were scattered across north Dublin. 

The crowd was of a mixed demographic. Teenagers on bikes stood and listened beside pensioners and young families as Paul Bell described the destruction of their town by the warring gangs who have been exchanging tit-for-tat attacks since the summer of 2018. 

All the main party leaders were present for the rally, walking alongside the people of Drogheda. The local gardaí received one of the greatest rounds of applause as addiction service leaders called for more resourcing to the region. 

‘We will not fail’

Louise O’Mahoney was the first to take to the stand. She runs the Red Door outreach services which helps those in addiction. 

She described how she and her team have been inundated since the gangs began to take hold of the area. O’Mahoney described the real fears that parents have for their children, the trepidation they are living with, fearful that their own children could be brought into a bloody feud, which has so far taken three lives. 

Members of the Youth Diversion Programme also called for greater resourcing to those helping people come back from the brink of drug addiction. 

But it was the impassioned plea by a visibly moved Mayor Paul Bell which brought the loudest applause. 

As he brought proceedings to a close, he described how Drogheda was not going to be beaten and how “no force can defeat the spirit” of the town’s inhabitants. 

He said: “We have seen intimidation, attempted murder and the ultimate evil act of murder itself.

The achievement of control of the local drug market and the communities who live in fear of this ongoing war. Our town has over 800 years of history since the Normans constructed gates and walls to protect the citizens from forces eager to dominate and occupy Drogheda.

“No siege and no force can defeat the spirit of what makes Drogheda citizens so special. 

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“We will not fail in ridding our communities of those who are convinced that today they are untouchable and free to do what they please.”

Mayor Bell also appealed to those behind Keane Mulready-Woods’ murder to give information to authorities which could locate the teen’s final remains so his “mother, father, brother and sister” can bury their loved one. 

“Today Drogheda speaks – and those of us are proud to live in a society which has at its core values of decency of justice.”

8086 Drogheda Protest Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the rally in Drogheda today. Source: RollingNews.ie

8569 Drogheda Protest Source: RollingNews.ie

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald were all in attendance in at today’s rally. 

McDonald said earlier today that communities are “suffering from the scourge of crime”. 

“They need to be listened to and supported… We have seen a spate of horrific murders and assaults across the State in recent times, including here in Drogheda,” McDonald said today. 
 
“The people responsible for these heinous crimes need to be taken off the streets.”

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