Large Garda presence at Traveller funeral in Longford town

Funeral of Maureen Stokes (93) passes off without incident after previous day’s violence

The  funeral in Longford of  Maureen Stokes (93), which passed off without incident amid a large Garda presence. Photograph: Liam Cosgrove

The funeral in Longford of Maureen Stokes (93), which passed off without incident amid a large Garda presence. Photograph: Liam Cosgrove

 

Dozens of gardaí were deployed to Longford town on Monday amid concerns of possible disturbances at the funeral of the matriarch of a large Traveller family.

Several officers from the Garda­ Regional Support Unit (RSU) were drafted into the county to police the funeral of 93-year-old Maureen Stokes.

The operation followed several violent incidents in the previous 24 hours during which a man was shot and another man sustained serious injuries in a suspected hatchet attack in Galway following the removal of Mrs Stokes. In a third incident, another man was the victim of a suspected acid attack.

The incidents are being linked to an ongoing feud between two rival Traveller factions.

They followed violent scenes almost 12 months earlier when a man was left fighting for his life in hospital in the aftermath of a car ramming incident in Ballymahon. The victim was stabbed in that incident, which took place shortly after a religious ceremony to mark the anniversary mass of John “Dodie” Stokes, a son of the late Mrs Stokes.

Close to 60 gardaí were deployed to oversee her funeral at St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford, ahead of burial to Ballymacormack Cemetery, both of which passed off without incident.

The deployment included members of the Garda Air Support Unit, Dog Unit and Public Order Unit as well as uniformed and detective branch members.