Town braced for weekend of mayhem in wake of latest botched hit
Gardaí are investigating if key associates of a recently released gang boss were responsible for organising the attempted gun murder of the leader of a rival faction in the Drogheda feud.
The 24-year-old man who was targeted in the shooting walked out of hospital less than three hours after suffering superficial wounds to his chin and shoulder.
He was targeted when shots were fired from a handgun when a car pulled up behind the vehicle he was driving in the Elmwood Close estate in Drogheda at 7.50pm on Thursday.
The target of the shooting is "refusing to co-operate" with gardaí. Within hours of his attempted murder there were two firebomb attacks in the troubled town.
Senior sources said last night that gardaí are braced for a weekend of "mayhem" with additional armed support units due to be drafted into the town.
A major line of enquiry is whether associates of recently freed Cornelius Price organised this attempted murder.
"If this line of enquiry stands up, it will mean that it will be by far the most serious escalation in the Drogheda feud since Price was released from jail six weeks ago," a senior source said last night.
Revenge attacks came quickly with firebomb attacks on innocent families who the targeted gang boss has blamed for being linked to his rivals.
At 11.30pm a house was petrol bombed in the Moneymore estate, causing it extensive damage.
Just 10 minutes later another house in the estate was targeted.
In one of the houses in Moneymore, a couple and their two young children had to escape the flames after petrol was poured into the house and set alight.
"They were lucky to get out. One of the neighbours ran over with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire in the hall. The family were cowering there," said one local man.
The glass in the front door was smashed, and it appeared petrol had been poured into the living room and set ablaze also.
The second house was vacant at the time of the attack, but was totally gutted by the resulting fire.
Its roof collapsed and neighbours had to smash the windows in a car in the driveway to move it because there were concerns it might catch fire and explode.
"The situation is so, so tense, it really is about to explode," a senior source said last night.
Gardaí have long suspected that associates of Cornelius Price would get involved in the warfare after the gangster's release from jail last month and Thursday night's attempted murder is being classified as the first of these incidents.