CCTV cam­eras and spe­cial Christ­mas court sit­tings planned for town Garda op­er­a­tion a re­sponse to con­cerns of lo­cals and set­tled Trav­ellers

The Irish Times - - Front Page - DAVID RALEIGH

Armed gar­daí and the dog unit will be de­ployed in Rathkeale, Co Lim­er­ick, through Christ­mas and new year, a se­nior garda has told coun­cil­lors:

Armed gar­daí will be de­ployed on the streets of Rathkeale, Co Lim­er­ick, through­out Christ­mas and new year, a se­nior garda has told coun­cil­lors, along with drugs of­fi­cers, the Garda dog unit and de­tec­tives.

CCTV cam­eras will re­lay live im­ages to a cen­tralised con­trol room in Lim­er­ick city op­er­ated by gar­daí, Lim­er­ick County Coun­cil’s jus­tice and polic­ing com­mit­tee was told.

Hol­i­day court sit­tings will be held as nec­es­sary through­out the Christ­mas and new year hol­i­days. ju­ve­nile li­ai­son garda will be based in the town, too, Supt John Deasy told coun­cil­lors.

The Garda op­er­a­tion, headed by Supt Deasy and Insp Alan Cullen, is a di­rect re­sponse by gar­daí to con­cerns raised by both the lo­cal set­tled and lo­cal Trav­eller pop­u­la­tion.

Mean­while, the Health Ser­vice Ex­ec­u­tive con­firmed sep­a­rately that it would pro­vide a “triage clinic” from De­cem­ber 20 to Jan­uary 4th.

Speed ramps have been erected by Lim­er­ick City and County Coun­cil to curb speed­ing. Speed­ing by young peo­ple driv­ing “high-pow­ered cars” has been a prob­lem in re­cent years, Insp Cullen told coun­cil­lors.

Polic­ing plan

Insp Cullen out­lined the polic­ing plan for Rathkeale be­fore coun­cil­lors at a meet­ing of a lo­cal joint polic­ing com­mit­tee in Rathkeale on Thurs­day night.

An in­de­pen­dent ar­bi­tra­tor li­aised last March with the lo­cal set­tled and Trav­eller com­mu­nity to “come up with a so­lu­tion” to con­cerns raised by the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion. Last year, the gar­daí put aside a a bud­get for polic­ing west Lim­er­ick over Christ­mas: “95 per cent of it was spent in Rathkeale,” he told coun­cil­lors. Speak­ing later, Supt Deasy said: “Our plan will have a four-pronged ap­proach – deal­ing with an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, roads polic­ing and en­force­ment, crim­i­nal­ity, and drug ac­tiv­ity.”

“Our ob­jec­tive is to make sure ev­ery part of the com­mu­nity in Rathkeale are able to go about their busi­ness with­out be­ing in­ter­fered with,” he said.

‘Lis­tened to peo­ple’

“We’ve lis­tened to peo­ple and we’ve lis­tened to when they think the op­ti­mum need for a polic­ing pres­ence is, and we’ll fac­tor that into our plan,” he added.

Gar­daí will go to lo­cal schools be­fore the Christ­mas hol­i­day to ex­plain to stu­dents about “the ef­fects of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour . . . and the dan­gers of un­der­age peo­ple driv­ing and so forth,” Insp Cullen told coun­cil­lors.

The Divi­sional Drug Unit based in Lim­er­ick city will carry out “swoops around the town search­ing peo­ple for il­licit drug use”, as nec­es­sary.

A Garda per­son­nel car­rier will be on 24-7 duty along with the Garda Armed Sup­port Unit and the Traf­fic Corps. The Garda’s Lim­er­ick Divi­sional Dog Unit will carry out “spe­cific tar­geted pa­trols”.

Gar­daí have al­ready re­minded lo­cal pubs and fast food out­lets to obey clos­ing hour rules so gar­daí can “get peo­ple out” of the town.

Gar­daí will li­aise with youth vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion Foróige to en­gage with “the huge vol­ume of young peo­ple that come into Rathkeale for the Christ­mas pe­riod”. Gar­daí want to de­ter an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour” in a town, where the pop­u­la­tion can grow by 3,000 over Christ­mas.

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