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Significant reduction in Longford feud violence as gardaí issue warning over 'call out' videos

Local gardaí have been attempting to keep a lid on the feud.

Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THERE HAS BEEN a “significant reduction” in Longford feud violence after gardaí threatened to arrest men posting ‘call out’ videos on social media, TheJournal.ie has learned. 

The feud has been simmering in the midlands for a number of years. However, in the last 18 months – up to a few weeks ago – there has been a surge in incidents of serious violence and intimidation.

The violence got to such a level that members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) were drafted in to patrol the streets. 

Local gardaí have been attempting to keep a lid on the feud with many in the forces highlighting a lack of resources in areas where the violence is occurring.

The feud, which has its roots in a disagreement between two families belonging to the Traveller community, has spiralled out of control in recent years. 

As part of the ongoing feud, shots have been fired at homes and innocent family members have been threatened. Intimidation and assaults are common among the gang members.

In recent weeks, however, officers have noticed a sharp decline in the number of incidents, especially on social media channels which the groups had previously been using to threaten each other. 

Videos of the two sides trading threats had previously been shared on Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook. Often the men featured are masked and holding either guns or knives. 

The videos have caught the attention of senior gardaí as well as the judiciary. Judge Keenan Johnson in a sentence hearing in October called for an end to the current feud. He said all threats should stop and be reported to gardaí.  

long1 A screengrab from one of the videos. Source: Garreth MacNamee

In an entirely unrelated case, the arrest and charging of a number of men in a different county earlier this year over online activity effectively curbed the Longford gangs’ social media campaigns, gardaí believe.

Informed sources have told TheJournal.ie that there has been a significant decrease in such online activity around Longford due to the fear that the posting of the videos could land their protagonists before the courts.

Despite the men often being masked in these videos, gardaí are well aware of their identities, often recognising them from their voices alone.

The men involved in the feud were warned last week by gardaí that any new videos appearing online would be thoroughly investigated and they would be arrested if threats are made.

Prior to the decrease in criminal activity, gardaí had been called to at least four stabbing incidents as well as several arson attacks on property linked to the feuding families in the last three months. 

Many officers believe there have been a considerably higher number of violent incidents in recent months which they have not been brought to their attention. 

Garda local management is closely monitoring the feud and the resources it has allocated thus far.

Comments are off as a case referred to in this story is currently before the courts.

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