Traditional police beat triumph in Limerick

AS armed patrols keep the lid on the Limerick feud, the tried and trusted tactic of gardaí pounding the beat is turning the tables on the city’s more traditional trouble maker.

Open spaces in the huge Moyross estate have been cleared of bonfires and burned-out cars with the introduction of uniformed night foot patrols, Chief Superintendent Gerry Kelly, head of the Limerick Garda Division, said yesterday.

Anti-social behaviour in estates and city centre shopping areas is being tackled by community gardaí now patrolling on foot and mountain bikes, he said.

“The Moyross strategy has worked incredibly well. We have young guards on patrol every night there and open green areas have been given back to the community for everybody to use and enjoy,” said Chief Supt Kelly.

There are now two sergeants and 24 gardaí on full-time community police work in the city, 14 operating out of Henry Street and eight out of Roxboro.

Chief Supt Kelly said Supt David Sheehan and Insp Gerry McNamara of Roxboro were drawing up proposals to expand the community police team in that garda district.

“It is the way forward. The public living in estates or going to the shops can identify with the garda. The community garda scheme in Limerick is working very well,” Chief Supt Kelly said.

Sgt Kevin Swann heads the community garda team at Roxboro and Sgt Seamus O’Neill is the Henry Street team leader.

Sgt Swann said they have had talks with city centre shop keepers and traders at Dooradoyle Shopping Centre to create a Business Watch scheme.

“We are talking with businesses at regular meetings and problems can be addressed at these meetings,” he said.

The use of mountain bikes, he said, enabled gardaí to travel quickly through estates, accessing alleyways, which can often be a source of trouble.

Cllr Ger Fahy said the appointment of a full-time community garda in Our Lady Queen of Parish which takes in Janesboro, Kennedy Park and Rathbane has been a huge success.

“Garda Annette Connolly was appointed before Christmas and local people can now identify and relate to a particular garda.

“This is leading to contact between the community and the force and has already led to formation of community and neighbourhood watch groups in the area,” he said.

Mr Fahy said the fact that there was now a designated community garda for the parish has also given great comfort to elderly people and the community at large.

“Anti-social behaviour was the one big issue which we got time and again on the door stop at the local elections. People felt let down by the powers that be and the gardaí. There is now a visible garda presence which we did not have before and this has been widely welcomed,” he said.

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