‘People are fearful’: Locals call for end of feud violence in Drogheda

Mayor of Louth town says ‘we will not be intimidated’, as residents rally against feud

Hundreds of people gathered in Drogheda to call for an end to the recent spate of violence. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

Several hundred people gathered in Drogheda, Co Louth, on Saturday afternoon to protest against the criminal feud in the town.

The feud between two drug gangs has been escalating since the middle of last year. There have been three attempted murders, as well as petrol-bomb and pipe-bomb attacks in the last year in the town; two of those attempted murders happened in the afternoon in public places.

The rally was initially organised by Independent local election candidate Paddy McQuillan, who said it “is not political”, adding: “This is more than politics, this is [about] Drogheda.

Drogheda residents at the anti-gang violence rally. Photograph: James Forde/The Irish Times
Drogheda residents at the anti-gang violence rally. Photograph: James Forde/The Irish Times

“We stand here today shoulder to shoulder for one reason only, we demand that Minister Charlie Flanagan gives our gardaí the resources they need to rid our streets of this violence once and for all. We are sick of it, enough is enough,” he said.

The Mayor of Drogheda Frank Godfrey said: “We are not alone, we are standing together against this violence in solidarity together.”

“As Mayor I am appealing to those involved in this current spate of intimidation and violence to stop and to stop it now. The good people of Drogheda do not deserve to be living in fear in their own town. We will not be intimidated. We want peace and calm restored to the historic city of Drogheda.”

Ann McVeigh, a community representative said: “People are fearful for their children, they’re afraid to let their children out to play in areas of this town, they are afraid to send their children to school because of repercussions”.

Among the crowd was Frances Nugent who said: “I am here today to stand up with people of Drogheda to get the violence off the streets. I am very fearful.”

Sarah Collier, who works in Drogheda, was also there and said:”I think people need to park their fear a little and show that, as a community, we don’t have to put up with this if we support the gardaí and each other in the community. I don’t buy into the fear, I am not a bit afraid.”

Speaking on Newstalk radio on Saturday, the Minister for Justice Mr Flanagan said he said those involved in the feud “will be relentlessly pursued by An Garda Síochána, and they won’t get away with these dangerous acts of criminal activity. It is unacceptable in Drogheda, it is unacceptable anywhere.”