Midlands homes searched in crackdown on Traveller gangs

Seven people questioned by gardaí and large number of weapons seized

Seven people are being questioned by gardaí after homes across the midlands were searched as part of a crackdown on feuding Traveller gangs.

A large number of weapons were seized during the searches, including slashhooks, sledgehammers and pepper spray.

Up to 13 houses in the towns of Mullingar, Athlone and Moate were targeted by teams of gardaí acting on foot of search warrants.

The operation, based at Athlone garda station, got under way before 7am Monday and was designed to put a halt to the upsurge in violence and other criminal activity involving Traveller gangs.


A woman in her 30s, a 17-year-old youth and a man in his 60s were arrested following searches in the wider Athlone area.They are being held at Athlone Garda Station under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

Four men, aged in their 20s and 30s, were later arrested following searches in the Mullingar area and were taken to Mullingar Garda Station where they were being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Judge Séamus Hughes, who sits in district courts across the midlands, has twice recently warned members of feuding families that he will take a very serious view of any such incidents coming before him.

He initially made his comments at Athlone District Court last Wednesday and again referred to them at Mullingar District Court last Thursday.

At the Mullingar court session he was dealing with five members of the extended Nevin family from Mullingar, including Olympic silver medallist, John Joe Nevin, who were before him on charges arising from a melee outside a Mullingar public house last month.

He queried if they were members of the same Nevin family who were involved in a feud with the Joyces of Moate.

Addressing the five men, Judge Hughes said: “You’d be well advised to note my comments in Athlone District Court yesterday. I consider the matter under investigation as extremely serious and you had better watch your step.”

Later, at the same court session, John Joe Nevin's solicitor Patricia Cronin told Judge Hughes that her client wanted to let the court know that it was not his side of the Nevin family that was involved in the dispute with the Joyces of Moate.