Longford Garda boss vows to keep pressure on feuding gangs

Jim Delaney

Supt Jim Delaney

Longford's most senior garda says he believes the county is “turning the corner” in the fight against organised crime and feud related activity.

Superintendent Jim Delaney was speaking after latest figures obtained by the Leader showed how gardaí had carried out almost 6,000 'proactive policing engagements' since the force's dedicated offensive codenamed 'Operation Stola' was set up just over a year ago.

More than 80 arrests, 43 prosecutions and dozens of books of evidence have also been served on several well known gang members from up to around half a dozen warring crime families.

Those successes have come on foot of a move to empower a team of experienced detectives, backed up by one of the country's most proactive community policing units to go after those suspected of driving Longford's feuding woes.

“We (gardaí) started this in April 2019 and in June we upgraded it and brought in the Armed Support Unit (ASU) in response to the escalation and gravity of offences,” said Supt Delaney.

“And it has been full on ever since with stop and searches, armed as well as unarmed checkpoints, patrols and curfew checks being carried out on a daily basis.”

The Longford garda chief singled out a cross agency operation last month involving the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and over 200 gardaí as being symptomatic of his organisation's commitment towards combating high level crime and upholding public safety.

Supt Delaney did, however, warn that despite a tangible lessening in feud related incidents locally, the challenge in maintaining those levels would continue unabated.

“It's (fall-off in feud related crime) a welcome sight but it's by no means a finished job and we will continue as we have always done in working with our colleagues in the JPC (Joint Policing Committee), Tidy Towns, Chamber of Commerce and County Council to make sure Longford is a safe people to live and conduct their daily business in,” he added.

Supt Delaney also reserved a special mention to the outpouring of support he and his officers had been afforded by the wider public following July's high profile operation, stating it was his desire to see that relationship sustained over the weeks and months ahead.

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