Gardaí stay on top of small-scale feud with four more arrests

The three-way family feud that has occupied Garda resources around Athlone of late escalated this week after two more petrol bombs were thrown at domestic targets.

The first happened on Monday evening (June 9 ) when a device was thrown into a garden in Woodlands, Clonbrusk, damaging some garden furniture.

However, gardaí arrested two teenagers a little later in nearby Ashdale.

The older of these was charged in Athlone District Court on Wednesday (June 11 ), and remanded in custody for a week to Oberstown House in Dublin for juvenile offenders, while his younger accomplice was referred to the juvenile liaison officer. It is believed the target was a relative’s house.

Then, on Tuesday night (June 10 ) a similar attack was perpetrated on a house in the Meadowbrook estate in Willow Park, after a device was thrown through a window.

Extensive damage was caused to the property, but there was nobody injured as the house was unoccupied at the time.

A father and son from one of the feuding families were arrested in connection with this and questioned in Athlone Garda Station until lunchtime Thursday (June 12 ) under Section 30 of the offences against the State Act.

They were then brought under Garda escort to the District Court in Mullingar to be charged, but as of going to press, no details in relation to this are available.

Last week (June 4 ) three youths were formally charged with a range of feud-related offences in the District Court in Athlone, and each given highly conditional bail.

Charges are expected to follow for another dozen participants.

The trouble dates back to a burglary in Battery Heights last month, where the stolen items were then found in a shed behind the home of another family in the same estate.

This second family got blamed for the burglary, and as the accusations and threats grew, it was revealed the alleged burglary was the responsibility of a third family, and another row developed between this family and those already accused of the offence.

Despite the use of a third homemade incendiary device in as many weeks, local gardaí are confident they have arrested the main perpetrators, and know all who might be tempted to carry out reprisals.

Patrols in the three affected estates - Woodlands, Battery Heights, and Meadowbrook - are to be stepped up, and all suspects can expect a robust reception if seen in so-called opposing territory

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