Justice Minister says death threats against gardaí are 'utterly unacceptable'

Justice Minister says death threats against gardaí are 'utterly unacceptable'
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said any threats against any member of An Garda Siochana are "utterly unacceptable".

Senior Garda sources have confirmed that they are investigating information that a threat has been made to kill two gardaí who are investigating the ongoing feud between criminal gangs in Drogheda, County Louth.

The Minister for Justice visited Drogheda Garda Station this morning and asked about the threats, the details of which were allegedly conveyed in a phone call, he said, "any threats against any member of An Garda Siochana are utterly unacceptable".

He also said, “I am very keen to ensure that every resource is available to An Garda Siochana in order to bring those responsible to justice.”

The Minister met with senior gardaí before going onto meet with residents in the Moneymore housing estate - where some of the criminal activity related to the feud has taken place.

Speaking outside the garda station the Minister said he was visiting at the invitation of Louth Fine Gael deputy Fergus O’Dowd and he acknowledged, ”There is a particular challenge here in terms of criminal activity and I am very keen to get a full briefing and to ensure as Minister for Justice that every effort is being made in order to ensure that particular challenge can be resolved.”

“I want to acknowledge the great work on the part of An Garda Siochana in recent times that has led to a number of arrests,” he said.

The Minister took the opportunity to appeal to people to help the gardaí with their investigations.

“I would appeal to the community here in Drogheda, a law-abiding well-established community in parts of the town here, to assist the gardaí in their ongoing enquiries to ensure that any and every information is forthcoming and that every effort is made to ensure that those who are unwilling to abide by the law are brought to justice and brought before the courts at the earliest opportunity.”

The Minister also said he had “an in-depth briefing with Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan local superintendent Andy Watters and every effort will be made in order to ensure that a very small but lethal group of people here in Drogheda, who are unprepared to accept the law, that every effort will be made to bring them to justice and put them out of business.”

Chief Superintendent Mangan said, "we had a frank and positive meeting as regards policing issues in the Louth Garda division. We will be continuing with Garda operations in the Drogheda in order to combat criminal activity."

In relation to Brexit and a hard border, the Minister said, “I accept what Prime Minister Theresa May continues to maintain and that is that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland, it is vitally important from an economic point of view but also the priority of maintaining in its entirety all aspects of the historic Good Friday Agreement."

Asked about contingency plans in light of concerns that a hard border would require a larger Garda presence, he said, “I discussed matters with Superintendent Mangan here in county Louth, I am satisfied that policing resources in the border area are satisfactory and there is no contingency planning for a return of the hard border because it isn’t going to happen.”

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