Gardai are investigating a firebomb attack on the home of an innocent teenager who is caught up in a vicious feud between two rival gangs.
The Herald has learned that thugs linked to a crime gang involved in a vendetta with shot criminal Owen Maguire's associates firebombed a Drogheda house in daylight, targeting the teen.
The incident happened at around 3pm on Wednesday in the Moneymore estate in the Co Louth town.
The ground floor of the house was extensively damaged and the occupants have now fled, leaving the local authority to board it up.
The fact that the attack happened in daylight was described as worrying by local representatives.
They said it showed how brazen the gangs had become, and how they had no fear of the law.
Local sources say the house was firebombed as a message to a teenage boy who had sought protection from one side of the feud by going to its rivals for help.
It is understood the teenager may have become involved with one of the group in a naive way and ended up owing them money.
However, when pressure was put on him to pay his debts he went to the other side for protection.
"The house has been targeted before. Last year some lads broke their way in with baseball bats and the young lad's terrified mother had to basically lie on top of him to stop the gang getting him," said one source.
The recent spate of violence has prompted local Sinn Fein councillor Kenneth Flood to accuse Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan of "not delivering on promises he made to increase garda resources".
"Minister Flanagan was here in January to see first-hand what the local community and gardai have to deal with," he told the Herald.
"He promised gardai the resources they need, but everything is still the same.
"The gardai here are not resourced.
"Other towns that have no feuds going on are resourced, but Drogheda is not.
"People here know who the players are in this feud, yet the resources are not there to deal with them.
"The local CCTV cameras don't work and the gardai are overstretched."
The house targeted in the firebombing has now been sealed, with metal grilles put up on the windows and doors on both the front and back of the property.
Broken glass and debris could be seen in the garden where a front window was broken during the attack.
The firebombing comes just days after a brazen gun attack on the family home of a Dublin man whose associates are linked to a hitman.
Both of the incidents are being treated as part of the Drogheda gang feud.
The shooting happened at 8.30pm on Tuesday last week when a lone gunman approached a house in the Castlemartin estate in Bettystown, Co Meath, and fired three shots into the front door and window, before escaping in a car which was found burnt out just outside the housing estate.
The intended target was a 39-year-old man who is originally from Donaghmede, in north Dublin.
No was one injured in the incident and gardai have not received a complaint in relation to it but the shooting is being investigated by Laytown gardai, who have made no arrests.
The intended target has no involvement in the feud and has no significant convictions.
However, it is believed he has become a target for the Maguire organised crime gang because an innocent woman known to him is close to the chief suspect for the botched gangland hit on paralysed crime kingpin Owen Maguire (35) last July.
"This man may only be a target because of someone who he knows," a source said.
"Either way the gun and arson attacks are very serious crimes."