Armed gardaí patrol streets of Longford amid feud fears

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Armed Gardai

The Gardaí's Armed Support Unit were in Longford at the weekend.

Armed gardaí were expected to be in situ outside Longford Courthouse yesterday (Tuesday) as part of a security led operation designed to take the sting out of rising tensions between rivalling feuding families.

The operation saw armed officers in mobile patrols take to the streets of Longford town ahead of the expected appearances in court of a number of individuals suspected of being involved in a recent spate of violent skirmishes.

They included several members from two locally based families who have been at loggerheads for several months and which has seen gardaí respond to and deal with a series of public order related incidents.

Two women who appeared in court last week charged with possession of a sawn off shotgun and ammunition were also due to make their second appearance before Judge Seamus Hughes in the space of the past six days.

The pair appeared at Athlone District Court last Wednesday charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition at Farneyhoogan, Longford two days previously.

A third woman arrested in connection to the same incident was released without charge ahead of a file which will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to determine if any charges can brought.

That followed a separate and unrelated incident only days beforehand which saw a female officer sustain serious injuries as she attempted to arrest a local teenager suspected of having been involved in a string of attempted break-ins in Longford town.

In the midst of those violent episodes, officials from the body representing rank and file gardaí issued a rallying plea for government bosses to add extra manpower to the county in order to quell escalating hostilities.

“Successive governments have starved the Gardaí and people of Longford of adequate garda resources and by doing that they have significantly dismantled policing in the area and left the Gardaí I represent as well as the law abiding public exposed to unacceptable risks to their own safety,” said Roscommon/Longford GRA representative Dave Conroy.

The local GRA representative added the only way in which to combat such incidents and reduce the level of risk to both rank and file members as well as the wider public was for greater resources to be given to garda management at a local level.

Mr Conroy said there was nothing unsurprising about the sudden reawakening in organised crime locally and said the Longford public had been let down by politically fuelled decisions.

“Is it going to take the incapacitation of a garda or a member of the public or one of the people involved in these feuds to be murdered before something is done?”

Read also: Gardaí arrest three women in Longford after discovery of sawn off shotgun and ammunition