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Gardaí identify members of feuding gangs who posed with machine guns in Longford graveyard

Gardaí in the area have been trying to keep a lid on the growing feud in recent months.

One of the pictures gardaí are investigating.
One of the pictures gardaí are investigating.
Image: TheJournal.ie

GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING A serious gang feud in Longford have identified a number of men who were videoed posing with guns in a graveyard. 

Last month, a number of videos and images were sent by WhatsApp and Snapchat between members of rival groups operating in the midlands area. Many of these videos featured men wearing balaclavas holding what appeared to be shotguns and machine guns. 

At one point, a man is seen speaking to the camera saying that they had “just missed” the rival gang and that they wanted to carry out attacks on that group in the graveyard.

The feud is seen as mainly personal rather than criminal, between two Traveller families.

Gardaí in the area have been trying to contain the growing feud in recent months. The issue became so serious that members of the elite Armed Support Unit were assigned to the area to help prevent violence between the gang members. 

These gardaí have provided a visible presence in the area, patrolling places which have been associated with the gangs. 

Despite the presence of members of the ASU, the gangs continue to use social media to call each other out and threaten violence.

In the last ten weeks, gardaí have been sent to four separate stabbings as well as incidents of arson. These are just the incidents which gardaí were called to – many officers believe there to be a considerably higher number of violent incidents in recent months. 

While sources have told this publication that many of the gang members “have gone to ground” in recent weeks, there is intelligence to suggest that another attack is likely in the coming weeks. 

TheJournal.ie obtained a number of photos and videos which show the two groups exchanging threats. In many of the images, loaded firearms can be seen. 

While there has been a reduction in the instances of serious violent behaviour, gardaí familiar with the feud believe that another serious incident is imminent.

Longford’s position in Ireland makes it a strategic place for criminals to operate. Two national roads – the N4 through Longford town and the N6 to the south – provide quick access to the capital and to other parts of the country.

Resourcing continues to be a serious problem for gardaí in the region. 

longford1 Guns in one of the videos. Source: TheJournal.ie

longford2 A loaded shotgun.

The feud centres around a number of families belonging to the Traveller community. Shots have been fired at homes, innocent family members have been threatened and intimidation and assaults are common among the gang members. 

Several gardaí have been drafted in to support Longford from stations such as Ballymahon and Lanesboro, which has left these other areas with reduced numbers of officers. 

There are times in the Longford area where there are just two gardaí to police the entire county, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation. 

Previously, Garda David Conroy, who is the Garda Representative Association (GRA) spokesperson for the area, said that morale in Longford is at an all-time low and that the area is in need of a significant investment in garda members so the force is able to police correctly. 

He told TheJournal.ie: “What we have in Longford is essentially the opposite to what is happening in Donegal. We have loads of cars and overtime but we have nobody to drive the cars and carry out the work. There is overtime there, in fairness, but nobody wants to avail of it because of the workload they already have. 

“Imagine you have 30 files on your books and you take the overtime, now you have 33 to do and there’s not enough time. You might get the bit of overtime, but you’ll get the stress of it as well.” 

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