Adams commends Community for anti-drug stance

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams attended a packed meeting of the Mid Louth Joint Policing Committee in The Market House, Dunleer on Thursday evening.

The meeting was called to demonstrate solidarity with a local family facing extortion and violence from drug gangs; to discuss the drugs crisis facing families and communities; and to hear from An Garda Síochána about their efforts to address the scourge of drugs.

The Louth TD commended Cllr Pearse McGeough and the JPC for calling the meeting and described the briefing from An Garda Síochána as “very useful, informative and helpful.”

Teachta Adams said:

“Along with Cllr Ó Murchú and Cllr McGeough I met the family who have made a stand against threats from a drug gang. They are being very brave and courageous. In my humble opinion they are not just making a stand for themselves. They’re making a stand for the rest of us.

So the question for us is what are we going to do? It is therefore important that when this meeting is over that we have some clear idea about what we are going to do next.

The most important information we were given this evening on this issue from the Chief Superintendent. He said we don’t have enough Gardaí. He told us that last year he was over budget and this year he will be over his budget. He and his colleagues also elaborated on stations that are only part time and why. It is clear that if you want boots on the street and Gardaí in the stations you can’t do if you don’t have the resources.

The Chief Superintendent also said – and I know this myself from battling with the government – that there are not enough resources for the support services for drug addiction. Talk to any of the people at the coal face of dealing with drug addiction and with families suffering as a result of drug addiction, and they will tell you that they don’t have the resources. We don’t have proper mental health resources and our health service is starved of the means of providing a holistic service.

Another striking point made by the Chief Superintendent is that if we fail to tackle the drug crisis effectively “we will lose a generation of our young people”. There is an old expression in Irish – Mol an óige agus tiochfaid siad – praise the youth and they will flourish – so I would like to suggest that we think of actions that the community can undertake to support An Garda Síochána. 

The community alert should be reactivated. We also need to reach out to our young people. And we particularly need to do what this family have called on us to do – give any information whatsoever to An Garda Síochána. The message from here should be very clear – we’re not putting up with this – we’re not putting up with what is happening here to a decent family who are doing their best because someone wants to make a profit on the back of an alleged addiction.”

Flood requests Garda Commissioner attend Drogheda joint Policing Committee

Chair of Drogheda Joint Policing Committee Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has written to the Chief Executive of Louth County Council, the Chief Superintendent of the Louth Division and the Superintendent of the Drogheda Garda District requesting an additional and urgent Joint Policing Committee (JPC) Meeting in Drogheda.

Cllr. Flood said “I, like everyone else in Drogheda, am extremely concerned at the further escalation of violence in Drogheda. I know that the Gardaí in Drogheda are doing their upmost to tackle the gangs involved in these acts of violence but it’s not enough and more resources are needed for them to be effective.”

“This feud has been raised in the Dail Chamber by Imelda Munster TD and by the other Louth’s T.Ds. The Minister for Justice has visited the town to be briefed by Gardaí on the feud. However, none of the requested additional and permanent supports have been delivered. The Minister for Justice has stated many times that it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of Garda resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions. That is why the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, must attend a Joint Policing Committee Meeting in Drogheda.”

Cllr Flood said “The Garda Commissioner attended a meeting of Galway’s Joint Policing Committee Meeting in March so his attendance at Drogheda’s JPC would not be unprecedented. The people of Drogheda don’t need to hear yet again how concerned we all are. They know that. The time for talking has passed. We need action now. The people of Drogheda need to see that something real and tangible is being done to bring the additional resources necessary to end this feud once and for all and to get all these criminals involved off our streets and off the backs of the people.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough: JPC Public Meeting Useful and Progressive

At a public meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) for Mid-Louth, Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough described the meeting as “very useful” and “a progressive way for the public to have their issues heard.”

The meeting was held at the Grove Hotel in Dunleer at the request of Cllr McGeough who is also Chair of the JPC. There was an attendance of around 40 and the proceedings got underway with a minute’s silence for Cameron Reilly who was from the town and was murdered on 26th May this year.

There were presentations from Louth County Council, An Garda Siochána (crime statistics) and on Cyber Crime.

Cllr McGeough said “I wanted to ensure that the public were heard first and foremost, and all those who attended were able to air their views on issues in the area and had the ear of Chief Superintendent Chris Mangan who I feel listened and took it all on board.”

Various issues were raised from drug taking, drug dealing, car parking, unmanned rural Garda stations to general anti-social behaviour.

Cllr McGeough said “there is a huge deficit in resources needed for the Gardaí to carry out their work effectively. Chief Superintendent Mangan was very forthright on that point. For example, if a murder occurs in the County, that is 20% of his budget gone. That is how much resources go into a murder. Now bear in mind, we have had three murders in County Louth this year and as CS Mangan pointed out, we now have the highest murder rate outside of Dublin, not something we can be proud of.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough & Imelda Munster TD

Also present was Imelda Munster TD who towards the end of the meeting told of her frustrations with the Minister as she was fighting for additional Garda resources in the Dáil. Those frustrations were mirrored by CS Mangan who has to justify his ‘overspending’ on a budget that was insufficient to meet the needs of the County.

Cllr McGeough said “people need to feel safe and in order for us all to live in a community where that can happen we need to be pro-active in looking out for each other and work closely with the Gardaí in reporting crimes and encourage our Community Garda to become integrated into our communities. I want to commend the Community Gardaí that we currently have throughout the county, they do great work and their local knowledge is invaluable in investigating local crimes. We need more of them but again, we are back to a resources issue.”

“In short, if we want to live peacefully and safely in our communities we all need to work together, the public, An Garda Siochana, Louth County Council, business owners and anyone who has an interest in where they live or work. I feel that the public took an active role at the meeting and were listened to, I want to thank everyone who attended.”

Ó Murchú: Gov Need to Get Realistic over Garda Resources

The lack of resources for policing Dundalk and North Louth, while Gardaí should be preparing for Brexit in less than six months’ time, was “laid bare in a frank and shocking fashion” at the public meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in Carlingford, according to Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú.

“Louth Garda’s Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan was “very forthright” in his assessment of the resources available to Gardaí in this area” Cllr. Ó Murchú said, “and highlighted, a number of times, the ‘deplorable’ state of Dromad Garda station on the border.”

The meeting, which was held in the Four Seasons Hotel, heard from CS Mangan about how he has been ‘forceful’ in his pleas to the Assistant Commissioner for more resources, including better Garda stations, and for more cars, particularly for the community policing units in Dundalk and Drogheda, which currently have none.

Cllr. Ó Murchú said; “CS Mangan was articulate and very forthright in his assessment of the resources needed immediately for policing in Dundalk and North Louth. It was shocking to hear how he has been asking repeatedly for an upgrade for Dromad station, which he said is in a ‘deplorable’ state. In addition, he revealed that he has been involved in planning for policing post-Brexit, which he admitted will take a huge amount of resources.

“And on top of this, this is one of the busiest districts in policing terms in the State.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “It is clear there are serious problems in this area and Garda management have to listen to what CS Mangan is saying. And more importantly, the government, who are framing the budget next week, have to give proper and realistic regard to the additional resources needed, not only for everyday policing – which is clearly suffering – but also to prepare adequately for Brexit.

“In the wider context, the government needs to ensure there is no intensification of customs and security checks at the border and for this to happen, the experts now widely agree, means the North has to stay within the customs union and the single market.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough Welcomes Drug Seizure in Louth

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has welcomed the seizure of an estimated €1 million of cannabis herb at Collon and subsequent follow up searches of properties in Ardee and Slane.

Cllr McGeough who is also Chair of the Joint Policing Committee for mid-Louth said “this is a great start. There is more work to be done but this is very significant and has taken €1 million worth of drugs off our streets. I welcome the find and want to commend those involved in the operation which was a result of a Cross-border Joint Action Force. It’s only through co-operation north and south and together with communities that we can tackle crime effectively.”

Cllr McGeough also took the opportunity to encourage the public “to attend the upcoming meeting of the Joint Policing Committee which is open to all.  We are holding it at 8pm on Thursday 4th October at the Grove Hotel in Dunleer. This is our community and we all have a say in how it is policed going forward.”

The meeting in Dunleer covers the areas of Ardee, Dunleer and Clogherhead Garda districts.

There will be a similar meeting in Drogheda on Monday evening 1st October at 8pm in the D Hotel for the Drogheda South Louth area and on Tuesday 2nd October at 8pm at the Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford for the Dundalk North Louth area.

Cllr McGeough said “there will be presentations from An Garda Siochana and the Local Authority and an interesting one on cyber crime which is on the increase and affects all of us. The public will get a chance to ask questions or to raise issues so please, whatever part of Louth you are from, please try and attend the meeting in your area. This drugs seizure was a good start, but there’s still work to be done so let’s do it together as a community.”