'Gardaí are responding to the needs of the people', says Longford judge

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Jim Delaney

Supt Jim Delaney

Since November 2018, Gardaí in Longford have been dealing with no less than five feuds in the area. That’s according to Superintendent Jim Delaney, who spoke out on the feuding at a sitting of Granard District Court on Friday afternoon.

Friday’s sitting saw eleven defendants remanded in custody until Friday, December 27, in connection with a violent disorder incident, which took place on Longford town’s main street on Monday, December 16, last.

Following the appearance by the eleven defendants on Friday, Judge Seamus Hughes asked Supt Delaney to say a few words on the efforts of the gardaí to ensure the safety of the public in Longford town.

“I’m sure Supt Delaney’s budget is overspent and overstretched - we’ve seen all the guards and the armed response,” he said.

Supt Delaney explained that last Tuesday’s court sitting alone saw an expenditure of over 120 hours of gardaí resources, with Friday’s sitting seeing a similar expense and, while he wasn’t at liberty to disclose financial expenses, he explained that it is “a significant hole in my budget to manage the district”.

“And also, you may have noticed the unprecedented quick turn around in relation to files from the DPP,” Supt Delaney remarked.

“Over 72 hours, it was worked on day and night. We liaised with the on-call directing officer from Wednesday, around the clock, in order to get a quick turnaround, because this is a matter of reassurance to the public.

“We pulled out all the stops and worked day and night,” he added.

Judge Hughes commended Supt Delaney and the gardaí for ‘responding to the needs of the public you’re serving’.

“I’m aware of the fact that there are several feuds in Longford,” he added.

“Yes, we’ve been managing five or six since November 2018,” Supt Delaney confirmed, confirming that last week’s violent disorder incident could be classified as a new feud.

Judge Hughes noted that the eleven defendants who appeared at Friday afternoon’s court sitting are “innocent until proven guilty”, but addressed the fact that there is “a certain fear and anxiety” among the general public regarding the feuding in the town.

“There’s an obvious concern, Judge, and we have deployed as much as we can up to Christmas. Since November, over 320 hours have been spent just on weekend visibility alone,” said Supt Delaney regarding gardaí in the streets during the busy Christmas shopping period.

In addition, Gardaí have records of approximately six thousand incidents around the management of the feuds since they started, with checkpoints, searches and “robust” curfew checks being carried out regularly.

“So we’re doing everything we can to assure the public that there is a safe environment in Longford and we’d like them to come in and enjoy was the town has to offer,” he said.

Judge Hughes thanked Supt Delaney and commended him on his work in the town.

“The gauntlet has been thrown down by a small core of people in this town and I commend the superintendent for the resources that he has devoted to the security of this court here today, and the investigation of the crime,” he said.

“And hopefully the administration of justice can bring everything to a speedy conclusion in due course.

“The gauntlet has been thrown down and the gardaí are responding to the needs of the public,” he concluded.

Read also: Eleven to remain in custody over Christmas in connection with Longford town feud