‘A lid must be put on this situation very quickly,’ – major Garda Christmas operation planned as tensions build among gangs
8 hrs ago
GARDAÍ are planning a massive operation in Drogheda over the Christmas period involving armed checkpoints in “hot-spot areas” as tensions among feuding gangs in the Co Louth town threaten to spiral out of control yet again.
It comes as a number of people in the county have been issued with Garda Information Messages – also known as GIM forms – by gardaí in recent weeks. These include women who have been officially warned of active threats against their lives.
“There will be a show of force on the streets in the coming days,” a senior source said.
“There has been a request sent out for gardaí to do overtime during the next couple of weeks as boots are needed on the ground to deal with this.
“Particular attention will be given to two large housing estates – Moneymore and St Finian’s Park. Past experience in the town shows that a lid must be put on this situation very quickly.”
In the latest incident, a home occupied by an innocent family in St Finian’s Park was sprayed with gun fire when up to six shots were discharged at around 8.15pm on Monday.
This followed a petrol bomb attack in the same estate earlier this month in which a teenager and two adults were injured.
A man aged in his 50s received serious burn injuries in that incident which occurred at around 2am on December 8.
It can be revealed the target of Monday night’s gun attack was not even in the property at the time.
He was a very close friend of slain teenager Keane Mulready Woods and has been involved in a number of separate criminal disputes since his friend was murdered almost two years ago.
The chief suspects for the gun attack are a criminal crew based in the Duleek area of Co Meath.
“The target was not in the house and not even in the town when this incident happened. The gunmen must not have known this,” the source said.
“His family are incredibly decent people and do not deserve this.”
Gardaí are also dealing with a separate “very dangerous” situation in a town 25km from Drogheda.
This week a woman in her 40s was one of those who was officially warned of a threat to her life after thugs used social media to demand €2,000 from her for a drugs debt. It is understood she knows nothing about this debt.
Sources say severe threats have been continuing against the woman after the windows of her home were smashed in on two occasions – in late November and early December.
“This is pure drug intimidation – the threat level is very high and gardaí will be keeping a close watch on that property,” said the source.
The recent rise in violence in the county comes after what was a very quiet year up until December for the deadly Drogheda feud which has claimed four lives.
Gardaí, under the command of Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan, have had some major successes throughout 2021. They have arrested a staggering 120 people for drug dealing offences in the town of Drogheda alone under Operation Stratus.
“The general feud has been quiet enough this year because of this operation, which is targeting drug dealers on a daily basis, and the fact that many of the main protagonists are either in custody, abroad or dead,” the source said.
“But what you are seeing now is separate disagreements breaking out among the criminals that are still in the area and plans are in place to deal with them.”
One of the main targets for gardaí is a 47-year-old gangster based in Ardee who is a key member of the feuding faction led by Owen Maguire, the criminal who was paralysed in a gun attack that ignited the Drogheda feud in 2018.
The gangster is currently facing serious assault charges before the courts and previously was the criminal tasked with sourcing cars for the Maguire gang to be used in shootings.
“He remains very active and is being closely watched,” the source added.