Special Laois/Offaly Garda crime taskforce to roll out by weekend

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A DEDICATED Garda crime taskforce to deal with those suspected of being involved in burglaries and property crimes in the Laois/Offaly division will be deployed before the weekend, the Tribune learnt this week.
From this weekend, the dedicated task force will be mobilised in the division with the "special objective" to target persons suspected of being involved in burglaries and property crimes in the Laois/Offaly division and in other areas.
This responsive development from the Gardai comes in the wake of a horrific weekend attack where 54 year old Richie McKelvey was mercilessly beaten by a gang, who forced their way into his rural home at Glasderry Beg, Brosna, Birr at around 2am on Saturday, November 4. Having been beaten inside his home, he was then bundled into a nearby shed before the perpetrators fled the scene with a small sum of money.
Speaking to the Tribune, following the incident, Superintendent Martin Cashen outlined the decision to set up the taskforce was agreed at a divisional crime conference, held in Portlaoise on Tuesday morning last (November 7) where they reviewed both the aggravated burglary in the Birr District over the weekend and also the burglary figures for the Laois/Offaly division.
It's expected the operations of this taskforce will be reviewed in a month and will run in tandem with continued Garda road patrols and checkpoints in the division. Continuing, Superintendent Cashen said the Gardai had "developed a strategy going forward under Operation Thor" which he described as having a "dual approach to the issues that exist and the changing circumstances that we are in".
Refering to this "dual approach", the Superintendent said it would include road policing and patrols on one side along with proactive engagement in identifying suspects, arresting people where the Gardai have evidence to do so and for them to be detained under the legislative process.
Meanwhile, Richie's horrific story has struck a chord with the entire country and is one that has shocked many of us. It has also sparked fear locally that criminal gangs may again be targeting homes along the country's motorway corridors. This week, it has seen calls for more Gardai and resources to be allocated to prevent crime in rural areas and for tougher sentencing for perpetrators for such callous crimes. Read more inside on page four.


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