Louth TDs voice concerns on criminal violence in the county
Louth TDs have voiced their concerns on the criminal violence in Drogheda, and the lack of Garda resources that has forced all Garda leave in the county to be cancelled in order to deal with it.
Both Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and Fianna Fáil's Declan Breathnach voiced their concerns yesterday, following an escalation of crime in the county that saw a Dundalk man kidnapped rescued by Gardaí in Drogheda.
Gerry Adams has described the government’s response to the escalating criminal violence in Louth as “not good enough”.
“Incidents of drug related crime in Dundalk and Drogheda have escalated to an intolerable level", said Deputy Adams.
"Since I was first elected as a TD, I and other Sinn Fein representatives have worked closely with An Garda Síochána.
"Those who are the target of such attacks are victim of unscrupulous and dangerous drug pushers who are targeting them for drug debts that are not theirs. In one particular case one family had eleven thousand euro demanded from it.
Deputy Adams continued, "I wrote to the Minister about this. I also spoke to senior Garda about this. In his response the Minister said that An Garda Síochána was reviewing its ‘Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme’.
"When I asked the Minister to tell us if that review is complete he refused to respond. I told him that was not good enough.
"When I asked the Minister if he accepted that additional resources are needed for projects like the Garda Youth Diversionary Projects; High Voltage and Team in Dundalk, the Boyne and Cable in Drogheda, and the Family Addiction Support Network, he refused to respond. I told him that was not good enough."
Declan Breathnach, in his Dáil speech yesterday, said, "The escalation of thuggery and crime in Drogheda was foreseen and flagged by me to An Garda Síochána and acknowledged as far back as last June.
Deputy Breathnach continued:
"My concern was based on meeting people who were caught up in incredible fear and intimidation. They were sucked in, some relatively innocently, into the crossfire of these vicious criminals.
"Many of these young people have never come to the attention of An Garda Síochána before and many more continue to be sucked into the criminal underworld.
"Some subsequently have had to seek anonymity and emigrate while their families continue to be intimidated by these gangs seeking retribution for the debts which they have cleverly and deliberately made sure to accrue to secure the false loyalty of these young people and the expansion of their criminal activities.
"The Minister should be under no illusion that what is happening in Drogheda is not confined to there but is being experienced in all the smaller towns and villages in County Louth and beyond into which these thugs' tentacles have expanded. These will continue to cause grief and expand unless steps are taken."
Concluding his speech in the Dáil yesterday, Deputy Breathnach said, "If this does not change, I have a real concern that there is a generation coming up who already have some involvement in this criminal underworld through their siblings.
"This is a vicious circle and if the resources are not increased to deal with the insidious criminal drug culture which has grown exponentially in the region, there will be more loss of life.
"We have 20 year olds who want blood and have no conscience about maiming or killing. At times like Hallowe'en, Gardaí only had to deal with bangers and stones. Now they are dealing with firearms."