The successful fight against feuding gangs has prepared Limerick well to deal with the threat of Islamic State (IS) terrorism, community leaders have been told.
Chief Supt David Sheahan, head of the Limerick Garda division, said: “Limerick is probably ahead of the game as already we have the Regional Response Unit here as a result of major serious crime we have dealt with in the past.
“I have a disproportionate number of people trained in the use of firearms, compared to other places and that is a positive.
“And our ability to respond to terrorist attacks would be enhanced. We have moved towards preparing our own people. We have to be vigilant and the community needs to be aware and become aware of suspicious activities and I would implore them to contact the gardaí so we can assess any threat.
“We have worked very closely with the Muslim community in the past number of years and to alleviate their fears and the rest of the community and we are in a good position to deal with anything,” he said.
“I hope it never comes to pass that we would be targeted. We have multiple facets of society now and I am confident we are in a good position. We have been up-skilling and briefing in what to look out for.
“It is a different world. But Limerick is in a very good position because of its past history of crime and can deal with a lot of incidents and we rarely have to go looking for national [Garda] units because we have built up that capability over the past number of years. My own people can deal with major investigations to the very highest standards.”
The senior Garda was at a meeting of the Limerick Joint Policing Committee and responded to Labour Councillor Frank Daly, who asked how safe Limerick was in the event of any terrorist attack in the light of recent atrocities in Britain.
One of the three London Bridge IS terrorists spent some time in Limerick, according to former associates.
Chief Supt Sheahan also revealed that a major fight against crime in rural Co Limerick is to commence with the installation of up to 300 CCTV cameras in every village and town.
Niall Collins TD welcomed the move: “This will be a huge boost to crime prevention and detection of gangs who have caused huge fear throughout rural communities.”
The CCTV system is being installed in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council. Chief Supt Sheahan said the cameras will be in operation before the end of the year and most will be placed in rural locations.
All of Limerick city centre and many estates in the city already have CCTV cover.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved