• JPC

Harris says policing Drogheda feud is ‘campaign of attrition’

Commissioner Harris
Commissoner Drew Harris addresses the Louth Joint Policing Committee meeting in Dunleer. Photo Credit: Kathy Gilroy-Barry.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris says the efforts to combat the Drogheda Feud is a “long campaign of attrition” and his urged local people who have information that can bring perpetrators to justice to help the Gardai in their work.

Commissioner Harris made his comments today in Dunleer as he attended a Louth Joint Policing Committee at The Grove Hotel in the village. He addressed the media and spoke about the reassurances he hoped to give to people in Drogheda, as well as using the opportunity to appeal to people in the community who can offer valuable information.

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“We have made substantial investments not just in national units but also locally in terms of the assignment of both Sergeants and Gardai to Louth,” he said. “We have given this investment, constantly backed up by the national unit so there is a good strong policing presence here. We will hear the feedback and then see what we can do to reassure people.

“We have had successes in the local area. There has been a constant drumbeat of operational success,” Commissioner Harris said. “There are a number of very serious offences still under investigations. Those are live investigations. We are asking for community support in providing us with information that we can take those investigations forward with.”

While in Dunleer, he gave a presentation on the new policing model, as well as taking questions from elected and community representatives. However, much of the focus of questions from local elected representatives and members of the Drogheda feud, as well as other instances of serious crime in the county such as knife crime, the murder of Dunleer teenager Cameron Reilly and ATM raids.

“We are running an operation. We want to see the operation break down these gangs and have further success in bringing individuals to justice,” he told the media, in a briefing prior to his presentation.

“I think our plans and the delivery of results will be shown over time. This is, in effect, a long campaign of attrition against the groups while at the same making sure the rule of law prevails.

Commissioner Harris said he appreciated the concerns of parents in places like Drogheda who are concerned about their childen getting caught up on the wrong side of the murderous gangland violence. 17-year-old Keane Mulready Woods was brutally murdered in the town two months ago. His murder, which shocked the town, county and country, has been linked to the ongoing violence in Drogheda.

“I appreciate their concerns. If they have infomation in respect of localised drug dealing, they should be providing that so we can act upon it, catch individuals and bring those perpetrators to justice. We work in partnership with the local community – and it is a very strong partnership – and we are determined to rid Drogheda of this scourge. We have applied the resources both locally and nationally to do that.

“It’s better if individuals can give us evidence, particularly in relation to drugs intimidation. We understand there is a lot of fear being applied. I would ask people to come forward, to report and then allow us to protect them and bring these individuals to justice.”

When it was put the Commissioner that members of both sides of the feud have said that an end to the feud was not in sight, the Commissioner doubled down on An Garda Siochana’s commitment to ending the violence.

“Neither are we going to stop,” he said. “We’re going to bring them to justice. I’ll not be content until I can give far stronger reassurance in terms of our success and what we have done. Yes, there’s a lot of focus. We have to maintain that focus but I’m not making any early promises here today.

“What we want to do is tackle drugs at all it’s various levels. We need to tackle it a local level, small time dealers, street dealers who are showing wealth through the clothes they were, etc. We need to know about those individuals. We can use localised and small scale CAB seizures against those people.

“We want to deprive not just the Mr Bigs, but the Mr Smalls of their proceeds from crime and their evidence of visible wealth from drug dealing,” he said.

Today’s Joint Policing Committee meeting was chaired by Ardee councillor Jim Tenanty.

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