Armed patrols in Longford are starting to pay off, says garda chief

Liam Cosgrove


Liam Cosgrove


Armed Gardai

The Gardaí's Armed Support Unit are in Longford

The decision to draft in armed gardaí to Longford in an attempt to stifle worsening feud related tensions between warring Traveller families is already starting to pay off, according to senior garda bosses.

As first revealed by the Leader on its front page two weeks ago, garda chiefs made the move after more than 40 episodes of violence, criminal damage and arson were recorded across the county since the beginning of April.

That included no fewer than four stabbings as well as suspected hit and run incident which left a father and his son requiring hospital treatment.

Giving his reaction to the move and the national publicity it conjured last week, Supt Jim Delaney said its knock-on effects were already starting to pay dividends.

“There have been no incidents since even if it's still very early days,” he said.

“While we (gardaí) are not patting ourselves on the back yet, the indications show things are settling down.”

He said it was also important to not place the increased garda presence was not blown out of proportion.

And, he said no timeframe had been placed on how long armed garda personnel would be in place ahead of a dedicated policing plan which has been devised in the lead up to Cemetery Sunday.

“They (Armed Support Unit) will be strategically deployed as long as it is considered necessary,” he said.

“But it's not like we (Longford ) is under siege, they are strategically deployed. There are not hourly checkpoints and its's not a blanket reaction, it's a measured response and appropriate in the circumstances.”

Read also: Garda armed support deployed in Longford to tackle upsurge in violent incidents