Drogheda feud escalates with three arson attacks overnight

Gardaí suspect incidents on Saturday night are linked to ongoing violent gang dispute

Extreme violence is now being used in residential areas and on busy public streets. Photograph: The Irish Times

Extreme violence is now being used in residential areas and on busy public streets. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Gardaí are investigating three arson attacks in Drogheda, Co Louth, overnight and suspect the incidents are linked to a worsening feud in the town.

Last week a man was shot three times and wounded in Drogheda. While he survived, gardaí believe the gunman was intent on murdering him.

The motive for that attack appears to be that the injured man is associated with some of those involved in the feud.

That feud is being waged between two drugs gangs based mainly in Drogheda, though some of the gang members live in other parts of Co Louth and in Co Meath, where some of the violence has occurred in recent years.

The frequency of the attacks has recently escalated sharply and is now of real concern to local gardaí.

Extreme violence is now being used in residential areas and on busy public streets and retailing locations, often at peak times of a working day.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, in what appears to be the latest exchange in the feud, extensive damage was caused during the attacks in which petrol bombs were used.

The incidents occurred over a 3½ hour period to 4am, taking place despite a bolstered Garda presence deployed on the streets of Drogheda in a bid to quell the violence.

At about 12.30am a device was thrown into a house in the St Laurence’s Park area of the town. Three windows in the front of the house were damaged, as was a downstairs room.

However, it appears nobody was at the property at the time and no injuries have been reported.

The second attack occurred about an hour later at Scarlet Crescent, when another device containing an accelerant that had been set alight was thrown into a house. As with the first attack, no injuries were reported.

The third, and most serious, attack occurred at about 4am when a device was thrown into a house in Loughboy in the Mell area.

Extensive damage was caused to that property as well as a vehicle parked in the driveway. The damage spread to a neighbouring property despite fire fighters being dispatched to the scene. However, no injuries were reported.

After Thursday’s gun attack, gardaí said members of the public were on the scene and were lucky they were not wounded. Up to nine shots were fired, with three hitting the victim in the leg and shoulder.

The victim was bringing materials from the front of a house to the rear with a number of other men in the Hardmans Gardens area when the gunman opened fire just before 4.30pm.

The gunman was then driven by an accomplice from the scene and the VG Golf getaway vehicle was later found burnt out in the Sheephouse area of Rathmullen in the town.

Later that day, just before midnight, there were two arson attacks on different properties in the town, at Ashleigh Heights and Springfield Court, both of which are believed to be linked to the feud.