Christy Mangan (centre) has outlined the ongoing problem with drug intimidation in Louth. PICTURE: ARTHUR KINAHAN
Drug intimidation remains a major concern for Gardai in Louth, especially in Ardee, it has been revealed.
Speaking at the most recent Joint Policing Committee meeting held at County Hall, it was confirmed that the issue of families being intimidated and attacked in their homes in relation to drug activity is chief amongst local Gardai concerns.
“Drug intimidation would certainly be a concern to us in the Louth Division, certainly in the Ardee District,” Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan said. “Families have suffered intimidation in relation to debts owed by a sibling. We need more information.
“It certainly is an area of concern. Families are afraid of being attacked in their home.”
Mangan confirmed such activity was “very prevalent” in Ardee, with the town and its surrounds having seen a number of petrol bomb and pipe-bomb style attacks carried out in recent months.
“This is a no-winner situation,” he said, imploring families under threat to make contact with the Gardai. “They need to engage us and the police in the area to try and work out how we will deal with this.
“They’ll just jeep coming back, looking for more money. It has to be dealt with firmly.”
According to the latest crime figures, Ardee has seen the number of arrests for drug possession more than double in the year to the end of January 2018.
Meanwhile, the number of arrests for intent to sell of supply drugs in Ardee rose by 600% year-on-year – from two arrests last year to 14 now.
The number of drug searches conducted in the town rose from 86 to 102. Despite the increase of arrests related to drug activity in the town, Mangan maintains the problem is a major one in the Mid-Louth area.
The Ardee Garda Division also includes areas and stations in Collon, Castlebellingham and Louth Village. Speaking late last year, ex-Ardee Garda Supt Fergus Treanor said, in relation to drug crime, “We are focusing our engeries in relation to that. It is a concern.”