18 May 2022

Garda operation targeting feuding crisis in Midlands leads to over 450 charges and 200 arrests


Gardaí at the scene of an alleged feud related assault in Penneys department store in March

A dedicated garda led operation aimed at specifically targeting Longford's spiralling feuding crisis has led to over 450 charges being issued and more than 200 arrests, new figures have revealed.

Minister of State Frank Feighan made the disclosure in the Daíl last night when responding to a parliamentary question tabled by Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Joe Flaherty.

He told of how the "majority of violent crimes" which have occurred in Longford since the turn of the year have been related to as many as 14 different feuds, involving seven different families.

Mr Feighan said the large scale garda clampdown aimed at combatting the issue came courtesy of the setting up of Operation Stola in April 2019.

That operation, which was the brainchild of former superintendent Jim Delaney, has resulted in 206 arrests and 454 charges being brought against suspected ringleaders involved in those feuds.

"A total of 54 of the charges relate to violent crimes, including assaults, violent disorder and knife crimes," he added.

In responding to calls by Mr Flaherty for greater garda resources to be made available and stricter governance of bail conditions, the Sligo-Leitrim TD said the Government remained committed to tackling Longford's ongoing feuding crisis.

"The (Justice) Minister engaged with community representatives during a visit to County Longford in February and is encouraged by the positive collaborative work emanating from Longford's pilot local community safety partnership" he said.

"The partnership represents a significant element of the Government's new community safety policy, which facilitates formal collaboration by community representatives, local business and public service providers to tackle key issues identified by the community itself.

"The Longford partnership is subject to independent monitoring and evaluation throughout the life of the pilot, and learnings arising from its operation will inform its work into the future as well as the roll-out of partnerships nationwide." 

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