Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has ordered a probe into gangland violence in Drogheda, appoint a former Director of the Probation Services to head up the investigation and report back to the Department.
Minister McEntee had previously committed establishing a taskforce to deal with the drug related criminality that has plagued the town in recent years.
Described as a ‘scoping exercise’, Vivian Geiran will also examine social causes that may have contributed to the rise of criminality in the Drogheda area.
Mr Geiran will examine such issues as substance abuse, drug debt, intimidation and the facilities that the town needs to help tackle these problems, including young people’s involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The probe will last 10 weeks and will include engagement with local Gardai, residents, service providers and other community members before a report is filed with the Minister.
Mr Geiran will make a number of recommendations and identify key actions to tackle criminal activity in Drogheda. Fine Gael TD for Louth Fergus O’Dowd this morning called the move a “decisive decision”, calling the criminality in Drogheda “appalling and barbaric.”
Vivian Geiran is a former Director of the Irish Probation Service, holding the role from August 2012 to December 2019.
Speaking on Friday, the Minister said; “Mr Geiran will look at the areas of community safety, policing, the impact of substance abuse, and drug-debt intimidation, but also at community development needs, the existing service landscape, including facilities for families and children’s services, the physical environment, and education and employment opportunities.
“The Exercise is due to begin in the coming weeks and will take between six and ten weeks to complete, during which time Mr Geiran will be gathering information and assessing the scale and nature of the problem there in order to map the services available and identify any gaps.”
She also stated that the areas of Bettystown and Laytown will be included in the scope of the probe.
Last month, Minister McEntee told LouthNow.ie she was committed to delivering on the the pre-election promise made that a new taskforce would be established to help Drogheda overcome its problems with drug related issues such as addiction and crime.
She said the Department remained committed to the plan, but she offered no specific details on a taskforce for Drogheda or elsewhere.