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Martin urges Taoiseach to establish Ministerial Task Force for Drogheda

Moneymore
The entrance to the Moneymore Estate in Drogheda.

Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin has written to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar seeking the establishment of a Ministerial Task Force to help address the social and economic issues that have underpinned the rise of the gangland feud in the town.

On behalf of the Moneymore Inter-Agency Committee that was set up last year and includes a number of local stakeholders including the local authority and An Garda Siochana, Martin wrote the letter prior to addressing the latest meeting of the committee held ten days ago. The aim of such a task force, if set up, would be to recommend specific measures which would support the long term economic and social regeneration of the area.

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Fine Gael leader Varadkar is the caretaker Taoiseach, after he tendered his resignation last Thursday night.

The meeting also heard that the council were currently assessing tender responses for the reintroduction of CCTV in the area. An application for funding support for CCTV has been made to the Department of Justice to assist with the cost of the works.

Louth County Council confirmed to LouthNow.ie last month that the local authority themselves would act as the data contorller in this assistance.

Speaking after the meeting, Drogheda Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters also welcomed the 10 new Gardai that have been assigned to the division, including five Sergeants and five probationary officers. Superintendent Watters says the experience of the former will be vital to officers already stationed in Drogheda.

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“The new Sergeants provide additional supervision for the significant numbers of younger Gardai that have been allocated to Drogheda in the last 12 months. The feud in Drogheda and surrounding areas places significant demands on
Local, Divisional and National units in dealing with ongoing issues and investigatingand prosecuting serious existing incidents.

“No effort will be spared by An Garda Siochana in conjunction with other agencies and stakeholders to ultimately end this feud and to bring the key players involved before the Court.

Last month, the installation of CCTV in Moneymore was made a priority as the committee outlined a series of measures they plan to implement to improve people’s experience of living in the area in light of the deadly gangland feud in the town.

That meeting heard that the local authority have already looked at the feasibility of a brand new Moneymore Community Centre while the council also said they have installed improved street lighting, delivered a drug-related intimidation programme and secured additional funding for the local Family Resource Centre.

More PLC places have been secured for residents at the Drogheda Institute of Further Education while a a programme of infrastructure works are ongoing in the area.

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During February’s meeting, Joanne Murphy, CYPSC Coordinator for the area, said that a number of other initiatives were currently being undertaken including the development of a critical incident response protocol and a drugs intimidation training programme roll out.

After the meeting, Ciaran Reid, Chief Executive of Louth Leader Partnership Company – speaking on plans to build a new community centre in Moneymore – said, “A consortium of local groups have come together with the specific aim of developing a much needed new build Community Centre for the area and the business case for this proposal is very well advanced.

“If the government establish a Ministerial Task Force for the area, it is vital that plans for projects such
as this are in place should a financial commitment become real.”

The meeting involved representatives from the HSE’s Social Inclusion Unit, the Louth Meath Education Training Board, the Probation Services, North East Region Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, Tusla, the Louth Leader Partnership Company, An Garda Síochána, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and Louth County Council.

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