CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Statement by the Minister on the feud in Drogheda
I would like to thank the Deputies for raising this important issue.
Let me say at the outset that I am very much aware of the impact that the type of criminal activity that took place in Drogheda last weekend can have on a community. I understand the concerns being expressed by the people of Drogheda and other areas of Louth - which have also been articulated to me on their behalf by Deputy O’Dowd. This type of criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.
It is important to note that it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of Garda resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. However, I am advised that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continuous review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources in Drogheda, and indeed in all parts of the country.
In relation to the specific incidents referred to by the Deputies, I am advised that An Garda Síochána are conducting full investigations into each case and as such it would be inappropriate for me to comment while these investigations are ongoing.
However, I have been informed by An Garda Síochána that Gardaí have put in place a policing operation to prevent, detect and mitigate against any further escalation of violence. In addition to cancelling all Garda leave in the Louth Division for the next two weeks, the operation will entail high visibility patrols, supplemented by personnel from the Regional Armed Support Unit; Community Policing Units; District Detective and Drug Units and Divisional Roads Policing Unit.
An Garda Síochána have further advised that they will continue to make every effort to disrupt the activities of any groups who may be involved in these incidents, to arrest and prosecute offenders and deny access to the road networks for those involved.
In relation to drug related crime, it is important to say that An Garda Síochána remains resolute in its determination to act against those within society who pose a significant threat to the welfare and well-being of our citizens and the communities they serve. A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime. The continued disruption of the supply of all illicit drugs remains a priority for An Garda Síochána and the other state agencies tasked with responsibilities in this regard. Liaison is also ongoing between An Garda Síochána and other relevant stakeholders, including the Local Authorities and Tusla / HSE to name but a few.
Finally, a Cheann Comhairle, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that if anyone has any information in relation to incidents that they please contact their local/nearest Garda station or through the Garda Confidential Line (Tel: 1800 666 111) as soon as possible. Any information, no matter how small, could be of great assistance to the ongoing Garda enquiries.