Ardee Garda Superintendent James O’Leary has conceded there are likely to be ‘extreme right-wing groups or persons’ living in Ardee, as a Sinn Féin councillor called recent instances of racist graffiti in the town “vile racism.”
Pearse McGeough, during Thursday’s Joint Policing Committee forum, enquired whether hate crime was a problem in the greater mid-Louth area, citing the recent cases of graffiti in public areas on the Railway Link walk and the Riverside Walk.
In May, graffiti including terms such as ‘Ireland belongs to the Irish’, ‘Nationalist Pride’, ‘Antifa and Anti-Irish scum’ and ‘Jion [sic] the Nalinal [sic] Party 2020’ were daubed on walls along the Railway Walk and the adjoining path leading to Tierney Street in the town.
“This graffiti is vile and it’s racism. It needs to be stamped out,” Cllr McGeough said. Previously, he hit out at those responsible in strong terms. “You have disfigured the landscape with your vile comments. Ireland is growing into a multicultural place to live and work and people should not be afraid to live or work here.” is “difficult to solve,” he said.
“This cowardly act was carried out by a very small minority and they do not represent the good people of the area. Racism will not be allowed to gain momentum and communities across this island will work hard to ensure that,” he added.
Supt O’Leary confirmed to the meeting that officers have been making enquiries but conceded it is difficult to find the culprits.
“It is on our radar. We have been increasing patrols but we can’t be there 24/7,” he said. “The content of it would indicate there are some extreme right-wing groups or persons resident in the locality.”
Gardai in Ardee say that a new community based CCTV scheme along the Riverside Walk is currently being examined by Louth County Council in conjunction with local Gardai and that it will help monitor and deter such acts in the future.