A violent Dublin feud spilled onto the streets yesterday and later led to chaotic scenes in the accident and emergency unit of a hospital.
Two men were arrested yesterday while another three men were hospitalised after the chaos broke out in front of dozens of onlookers, including children, on a busy street in Drogheda shortly before midday.
Among the three men hospitalised was Clifford Whitehouse, whose brother Benny was shot dead last September. The two men who were arrested were later released without charge and a file was prepared for the DPP.
On Monday night armed detectives continued to patrol Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital amid fears of a further outbreak of violence.
Sources have revealed the mayhem began shortly after 11.40am yesterday at West Street in the Co Louth town when a chance encounter between six men led to what was described as a “bloody brawl”.
“Knives were produced but were not used, but a number of very bad assaults happened which are likely to result in serious charges at a later date,” a source explained.
“What happened here is part of an ongoing feud which has its origins in the Balbriggan area and has seen one murder and literally dozens of other violent incidents.”
Over 100 people saw the shocking scenes, but gardai reacted quickly to the situation – which was caught on CCTV cameras – and arrested a man who they observed as being an instigator of the brawl.
Cliff Whitehouse, whose brother Benny was shot dead in Balbriggan
Despite the quick reaction of officers, people were shocked by the disturbing scenes, which involved one man being beaten with a broom handle as well as multiple assaults by the protagonists.
“There was blood everywhere and some men got a really bad beating. People were screaming and running out of the way,” said one terrified woman who had young children with her at the scene.
After the 36-year-old man was arrested in the town centre, further mayhem broke out at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital after three people were brought there for treatment for “severe cuts and bruises”.
“At around 2.15pm, a further altercation took place between some of the parties at the emergency department and another arrest was made,” a source explained.
“The two arrested suspects were detained for public order offences and were later released without charge.”
Clifford Whitehouse (40), who was injured in Monday’s brawl, was jailed for four months last February for his role in a violent incident outside a Balbriggan school.