Drogheda to be prioritised for support after years of gang crime

Community alerts system to be put in place, as well as funding for jobs and education

Drogheda residents demonstrating for an end to violence in the town in 2019. File photograph:  James Forde/The Irish Times

Drogheda residents demonstrating for an end to violence in the town in 2019. File photograph: James Forde/The Irish Times

 

Drogheda is to be prioritised for funding and support from Government after being plagued by years of gang crime and violence.

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys got Cabinet approval for the Drogheda Community Safety and Wellbeing Implementation Plan on Wednesday.

It comes after a report completed earlier this year by former Director of the Probation Service, Vivian Geiran, found that the town is “traumatised” by ongoing gang violence which is causing residents to go about their daily lives “in generalised fear”. Much of the violence in the Co Louth town has been caused by an inter-gang feud which has led to several murders.

Ms Humphreys launched a plan for supporting the town.

She said:”Many of us in Government made a promise to help the people of Drogheda fight criminality and improve the safety and wellbeing of the community in the town and its surrounding areas.

“I believe that the Drogheda Implementation Plan and the Government commitment to place a special focus on the town will help to fulfil our commitment.”

She said it is “important to recognise that the minority engaged in criminal actions do not represent the people of Drogheda.”

She also said: “An Garda Síochána have shown immense dedication and diligence over the past number of years tackling the criminal elements within the town and the surrounding areas.”

Ms Humphreys added: “But we know public safety cannot simply be the responsibility of the police alone, and must engage other agencies of Government, such as health or social services, as well as other sectors of society.”

There are 70 actions in the plan and Ministers agreed that funding applications related to the strategy will be prioritised by departments and agencies

Among the measures are a new community alerts system to be rolled out by the end of the year, and extra funding to be agreed for the Red Door addiction support service by the autumn.

In the area of education, additional supports have already been provided to three primary schools.

In relation to employment, IDA Ireland is to develop new enterprise buildings over next three years.