A Traveller representative group working on the ground to find a long-term and lasting solution to the violent feud which escalated in recent weeks say they are confident of a resolution.
The Irish Traveller Movement has been involved in intense negotiations between the warring factions and a number of groups and agencies in the area and Director Damien Peelo believes an end to the hostilities is in sight. Both he and Martin Collins, Assistant Director with Pavee Point, have called for an end to the ongoing violence and anti-social behaviour and urged both Travellers and the settled community to co-operate with the Gardai in their work to resolve these issues.
Martin Collins, Pavee Point, congratulated those who are showing leadership in the community by restraining from being involved. “We need to recognise the leadership that many Travellers are demonstrating by their opposition to this violence and for encouraging the younger men to stay out of trouble”, he continued. “We would encourage these young men to listen.”
Weapons, fire bombings
Garda resources from the Waterford District, augmented by additional resources from the division and region, continue to be deployed at a number of city estates in an overt high visibility operation which includes random static vehicle checkpoints and extensive mobile patrols, both by uniformed and armed personnel.
Coupled with this approach, an intelligence-led investigative operation is also being conducted, a Garda spokesperson confirmed. Searches at various types of premises and open (waste) ground have resulted in the seizure of a number of items, including two sawn off shotguns, thirty-seven petrol bombs, small quantity of ammunition and an assortment of weapons, such as slash hooks, machetes, hammers, pick axe handles, swords, knives and hatchets.
A total of nine men have been charged with various offences relating to the row. The latest of these was James McDonagh, 5 The Crescent, St Johns Park, who was arrested last Wednesday after a number of petrol bombs and an unlicenced firearm were discovered at his house. He was remanded in custody.
Meanwhile it is understood that gardai are investigating the possibility that a number of women were responsible for a fire at St Herblain Park last Wednesday night. Shortly after a twenty-four hour Garda presence at the estate had ceased, petrol bombs were thrown through windows of the property, causing extensive damage. The house was unoccupied at the time, the residents having vacated it because they feared they might be the target of such an attack.
Hours later, at 12.20am on Thursday, three petrol bombs were thrown into Bilberry halting site yard, with one hitting the roof of a vacant caravan. No one was injured during that incident.