independent

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Crime gangs involved in 'tit for tat' incidents

Investigations are continuing this week into a series of incidents that have shocked the community and left many people living in fear.

The latest incidents were on Sunday last when a suspect device had to be made safe by the army EOD close to St Mary's Church on the Dublin Road, while an explosion took place in Moneymore later that evening.

A security cordon and traffic diversions were put in place on the Dublin Road following the discovery of a suspicious device near a parked car around 2.40pm.

As a precaution, Gardaí evacuated the area and the bomb disposal unit called. After some hours, the suspect device was recovered and made safe. Both the car and device were removed for a technical and forensic examination by investigating Gardaí.

On Sunday evening, families had to flee their homes in Moneymore after an explosion. It is believed a car was abandoned on Skelly's Lane and set on fire It contained a number of gas cylinders. The garda helicopter was called in to assist with the follow up operation.

The weekend incidents followed further attacks during the course of last week in what is seen as an escalation in an ongoing feud between between two organised crime gangs in the area.

Two incidents were reported within hours of each other last Wednesday. A caravan was set alight on the Cement Road and a garage, with a car inside, was also torched on the Donore Road.

On Thursday night, a suspected petrol bomb attack took place on a house at Termon Abbey and minutes later, there were reports of an armed man on the Cement Road, shortly before midnight.

A device was thrown at the Cement Road at 2am on Friday, and two cars were burned out around the same time and at 5.20am in Laurence's Drive and Laurence's Park.

There were also reports of an assault on a teenager on the Cement Road and the Drogheda Independent was also informed of an incident close to the Tholsel on Thursday when a man with a silver firearm was seen concealing the weapon after threatening another man.

Local councillor Paul Bell confirmed this week that he has written to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, appealing for more resources to be given to the town.

'You will be no doubt aware that in recent weeks an element living in our community have been engaged in some kind of gang war which is of extreme concern to the law abiding citizens of Drogheda,' he told the commissioner.

'It is my fear that should the seemingly tit for tat engagements continue between those involved in this criminal behaviour that it is only a matter of time until an innocent citizen is injured or killed. Not to mention the risk posed to those in An Garda Siochana who work tirelessly to defend our communities from organised crime, criminal behaviour and anti social behaviour all of which impact on our communities, our young citizens and our senior citizens alike.

'In short we need help and that help is needed immediately,' he explained.

Cllr Pio Smith added, 'The current escalation in violence and intimidation is unprecedented in Drogheda. The Gardai need resources from the state similar to what was provided to Limerick. Also the stae should allow the evidence from a Chief Superintendent to be used to arrest and imprison suspected gang members similar to the wat it was used to combat the provisional IRA. Tough measures for tough times"

Drogheda Independent

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