Town is paralysed by court stand-off
A TOWN centre came to a standstill for several hours yesterday following a bizarre stand-off among prisoners at the local courthouse.
Dwyer Street in Drogheda, Co Louth, was cordoned off for about two hours after the garda armed support unit and the control and restraint unit of the Irish Prison Service (IPS) were dispatched to the District Court around 1pm.
They, along with several units of gardai from Drogheda and nearby Laytown, Co Meath, were dispatched to the courthouse after six prisoners who were due to appear in court barricaded themselves inside the court's holding cell.
The courthouse was cleared while gardai blocked off the immediate vicinity as the armed support unit entered the courthouse with riot shields.
Gardai and the prison officers managed to negotiate with the prisoners, who were then removed one by one without further incident.
The IPS was unable to say last night what sparked the incident, which remains under investigation.
The location of the courthouse in a central shopping area of the town has been the source of frustration by some local businesses and residents, who claim that the area is taken over by garda and IPS vehicles whenever the court sits.