Gangs recruiting Longford kids to carry out drug deals
Crime gangs living in one of Longford’s most troublesome anti-social behaviour blackspots are grooming children and young teenagers to carry out drug deals and incite anti-social behaviour in a bid to force law abiding local residents from their homes.
A certain cohort of youths are also being enlisted to start indiscriminate fires in green areas and derelict buildings to create an “environment of chaos” for gangs to operate in.
The revelations were ones which were delivered at a meeting of Longford Municipal District last week over ongoing fears linked to the greater Ardnacassa area.
Fine Gael Cllr John Browne raised the topic as he revealed how two fires had been reported in Cluain Ard on successive nights.
“The next thing you will have a house completely destroyed down there,” he warned.
But it was Independent Cllr Gerry Warnock who pointed the finger chiefly on the activities of one section of individuals in particular.
“We all know what the problems are up there,” he remarked.
“You have three or four families and let’s be honest they are members of the Travelling Community who are hiring these young guys who are responsible for the vast majority of the drug dealing.”
Cllr Warnock said there was anecdotal evidence both in Longford town and county to suggest gangs were employing youngsters to carry out their crime fuelled operations.
“They are hiring young fellas, vulnerable people to light these fires to intimidate decent people that’s living up there.
“They want an environment of chaos to operate in and the only way of solving that is by having a permanent garda presence in that area.”
As chairperson of Longford County Council’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Cllr Warnock renewed a previous proposal made for the Gardaí to examine the possibility of setting up a substation in the area.
One potential avenue to meet that demand was through the Council setting aside one of its own properties inside the estate for gardaí to set up base in.
He said this was the only way State agencies like the Council and gardaí would be able to “weed out” crime groups.
Fianna Fáil’s Seamus Butler endorsed those calls, saying an almost identical approach had been employed in Limerick to keep a lid on the city’s gangland culture.
“That is what they (gardaí) did in Limerick,” he said.
“They physically moved in and that is of a severity here in Longford which requires that commitment.”
Local councillors unanimously agreed to write to garda chiefs in a bid to hasten the setting up of a garda substation while also effecting a “more sustained” garda presence in the area.
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