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Minister for Justice defends investigations into Drogheda feud

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has defended ongoing investigations into a criminal feud in Drogheda that has led to 74 serious incidents in the town.

The Minister gave a press conference with Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, at Drogheda Garda Station this evening.

A number of petrol bomb attacks were carried out in the last few days along with an attempted murder last week when shots were fired at a man outside a house in the town.

The incidents are being linked to a feud between two rival crime gangs vying for control of the drugs trade in Drogheda.

Minister Flanagan said he is satisfied gardaí are doing all they can to catch those involved.

"There's been an ongoing development here in Drogheda over the past number of months," he said.

"I visited here just before Christmas and got a detailed briefing. I saw myself the succes on the part of the Garda Síochána here in terms of successful searches, recovery of firearms, other materials, a number of arrests.

I'm satisfied that a concerted and sustained effort is on the ground here in Drogheda.

‘Operation Stratus’ began in Drogheda in October 2018 and has resulted in a number of incidents being reported. These include firearms offences, possession of drugs, petrol bomb incidents, criminal damage offences and general road traffic offences.

"As Chief Superintendent in charge of the Louth Garda Division I want to assure the people of Drogheda that we will deal forcibly with the crime gangs and dismantle their criminal networks," said Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan

"I ask that the community in Drogheda continue to support us and I reassure them that we have a very comprehensive Operational plan in place to deal with the criminals involved”.

    To date the operation has resulted in:

  • Four people before the courts in relation to false imprisonment in November 2018;
  • Four people arrested in relation to attempted murder in February 2018. A file has been prepared for the DPP;
  • Recovery of a machine gun and seizure of drugs. One person before the courts and a second person pending file to DPP;
  • In excess of €270,000 cash seized in 2018;
  • Recovery of three loaded firearms and a quantity of drugs seized;
  • Seizure of three pipe bombs recovered and a quantity of drugs seized;
  • Significant drugs seizure €110,000. One man before the courts;
  • Pipe bomb recovered and drugs seized. One man before the courts;
  • Search of open ground – firearm recovered and nine pipe bombs in various stages of completion recovered.

To date, 319 proactive searches have been carried out along with 870 ASU/Roads Policing checkpoints and 1,253 proactive uniform and plainclothes patrols.