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GARDAI yesterday foiled a potential murder plot as a Traveller feud threatened to spiral out of control.

Detectives investigating the ongoing war between various families in Tralee, Co Kerry, discovered a shotgun in a car that was stopped shortly after midnight.

In a follow-up search at a nearby house they retrieved a second shotgun, three petrol bombs, two Samurai swords, a slash hook, a knife and two balaclavas. They believe the weapons were to be used to escalate the bitter fighting that has gripped the Traveller community in Tralee.

Yesterday up to 25 members were involved in a riot in Tralee's Ashe Street.

The fighting spilled into the District Court where Judge James O'Connor adjourned the sitting as gardai in stab vests tried to break up the fight. Four people were arrested and face charges. A source said the seizure of weapons is suspected to be linked to the later fighting.

He added: "They didn't have these for no reason. They have access to shotguns and they are using basic weapons like petrol bombs and slash hooks that could cause devastating injuries.

"This feud is escalating and if it is allowed to continue there will be bloodshed and people will die." Every week the courthouse in Tralee is mobbed by members of rival families.

Gardai have taken to wearing stab vests and searching people as they enter the court, for fear they will try to smuggle in weapons.

Armed gardai have been used on three occasions as tensions threatened to spill over.

Meanwhile, Kerry Travellers Development Project is actively working with an Interagency Group to resolve the conflict.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2009
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