Protagonists in a long-running feud in Dungarvan have been accused of “brazen criminality” after videos carrying death threats were posted on social media in recent days.
Sinn Féin Councillor Conor McGuinness said the so-called ‘call out’ videos were posted by people “with absolute disrespect for human life, for the people of Dungarvan and for common decency”.
The feud between a small number of families has been ongoing for a number of years, but the reason for the conflict is unknown.
Councillor McGuinness says the conflict “re-erupts every number of months” and has sometimes “spilt over into running battles in housing estates and attacks on homes, with people not involved being caught up in it”.
Fine Gael Cllr Damien Geoghegan told a meeting of Dungarvan-Lismore municipal that the recent 'call out' videos were “the talk of Dungarvan".
He said there were innocent people “whose lives are absolutely, totally and utterly miserable because of what they are witnessing”.
Cllr Geoghegan said the feud was having a negative impact on the local community, with “children being woken during the night, cars crashing into one another, windows being put in and people out in the road threatening one another” in several locations in the Co. Waterford town.
He claimed the antagonism had now infiltrated local schools, with “children threatening other children” and said there is growing concern among teachers about the effects of the feud on their pupils.
While a number of feud-related arrests were been made in the past, Councillor McGuinness asked why gardaí are not arresting current participants, as threats have been made online "to kill somebody or slit their throat from ear to ear”.
He said that “despite making no attempt to conceal their identities, these people seem to act with impunity”.
An enhanced Garda presence in the town periodically eased tensions before hostilities re-emerged, but Councillor McGuinness said he would like to see a greater emphasis on community policing. He claims a joint effort by Waterford Council and NGOs from other agencies to tackle the feud was launched last year but “came to nothing”.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Tom Cronin said he feared the current violence would “end up in funerals”.
Gardaí in Dungarvan said they have no comment to make.