Drogheda feud escalates after five arson attacks at weekend
A spike in attacks and reprisals in an increasingly violent gang feud in Drogheda has led to fears that lives will be lost after five arson attacks on houses over the weekend.
Tensions are high in the Co Louth town as gardai and representatives grapple with a worsening situation which has seen one man shot and a spate of attacks on houses in the past week.
The feud between two criminal gangs had been simmering for weeks after a previous upsurge in violence during which armed gardai had to storm a house in the Moneymore estate to rescue a man they believe was going to be killed.
Last Thursday a man who was not the intended target was shot while working at a house on Hardman's Gardens in the town.
Investigators think the intended victim was the victim's friend who is linked to Owen Maguire, the leader of one side of the feud who was paralysed in a gun attack last year.
Since then there has been a series of attacks on houses around Drogheda, and gardai are treating these attacks as being part of the ongoing feud.
Early yesterday morning three homes were targeted between midnight and 4am, with one house suffering extensive fire damage as a result.
In the first incident at 12.15am a suspect device was thrown at the window of a house in Laurence's Park, not far from Moneymore. The front window and front living room were damaged but there were no reports of injuries.
Just an hour later there was a similar attack on a house in the Scarlet Crescent estate in the town. Again, a suspect device was thrown through the window of the house, which appears to have then ignited.
Scorch marks could be seen on the front of the house yesterday and the front window had been shattered. There were no injuries reported. The most damage was caused in the third attack on the outskirts of the town at Loughboy at 4am.
A suspected petrol bomb was used to torch the house after the front window was broken. The house went up in flames and fire brigade units fought the fire, as well as having to tackle flames from a new car which was set on fire in the driveway.
In the early hours of Saturday two other homes were firebombed. One was in the Ashleigh estate while the second was at Springfield Court four hours later.