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Councillor blames feud gangs for arson attack on her offices

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Councillor Sharon Keogan at her offices in Duleek, Co Meath, which were targeted in an arson attack

Councillor Sharon Keogan at her offices in Duleek, Co Meath, which were targeted in an arson attack

Councillor Sharon Keogan at her offices in Duleek, Co Meath, which were targeted in an arson attack

The offices of a Co Meath councillor who is outspoken about drug crime have been attacked by arsonists - just hours after she made comments about the shooting of an innocent taxi driver in Drogheda.

Councillor Sharon Keogan said she is shocked and upset by the attack on her office on the main street of Duleek.

A rock was used to smash a window in the front door, and an accelerant was then poured in and ignited.

The fire caused extensive damage to the porch but, thankfully, failed to spread because the internal doors were closed.

The attack came just hours after Ms Keogan spoke out about the shooting of a taxi driver in Drogheda on Monday night.

Shot

The driver, John Myles, is understood to have been shot after he picked up a criminal who was using the taxi to get to a garda station where he is required to sign on as part of his bail conditions.

He was treated at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda but later discharged.

After the shooting, Ms Keogan, who knows Mr Myles, called on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to put more resources into fighting drug crime in Drogheda.

"A multi-agency approach must be adopted here," she said.

"It is not right that some of us law-abiding citizens are subjected to the rules of law and those involved in blatant criminal activity are not."

Speaking about the arson attack, Ms Keogan said she is sure her offices were targeted because of her being so outspoken about drug crime in the Louth and Meath area.

"It is absolutely related. I am very outspoken on crime, drug crime specifically, and I think this attack is because of that," she told the Herald.

"I am having meetings in the coming days about drugs, and some people are telling me I should cancel them, but I won't.

"I will continue to speak out about crime. We cannot let these people win.

"Whatever we are doing is working. I am in shock, and it takes a lot to shake me, but we have to keep going.

"There is CCTV in the town, and maybe it picked something up. The gardai were here this morning and did a forensic examination too.

"I run a local newsletter from this office too and employ four people, but obviously they can't come in today until all this mess is sorted out."

Ms Keogan, who was first elected in 2014, said in a statement yesterday: "Anyone who knows me knows the work that I do and it won't deter my work.

Safe

"I'm here to serve the community and will continue to do what I can to make our communities safe for all.

"This office is here to serve the community of Duleek, who elected me to represent them.

"This arson attack is not only an attack on me but also the people of the area. We have to stand together to say this is not acceptable."

Ms Keogan has been vocal about the drug gangs that have infiltrated Duleek and surrounding areas.

In February 2019, she set up the Feel Good Project to address the issue of addiction in the community and provide support, and positive action, to parents and teenagers who are being intimidated by criminal gangs.

Gardai are investigating the arson attack.