A GARDA kiosk, which could be run by retired members of the force or civilian volunteers, has been proposed by members of the Limerick Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
The idea was mooted by Limerick Chamber chief executive James Ring, at last Friday’s meeting of the JPC. According to Dr Ring, the idea for a ‘drop-in’ centre was first suggested about a year ago by a Limerick bar owner.
“You could go in and feel safe. There could be one Garda sitting in a kiosk in the city centre, there’s a logic to the idea,” he said.
Former Garda detective and Fianna Fail councillor Sean Lynch supported the idea and suggested a pilot scheme with the kiosk manned by volunteers from the community or retired members of the Gardaí.
“Henry Street is a good bit away so this could be a point of contact. It’s a great idea,” he added.
Independent councillor Frankie Daly felt there was a lack of Garda visibility in the city centre and believed a kiosk would give people out on the town “piece of mind”.
“There is fear there,” he added.
Labour Party TD Jan O’Sullivan agreed that Garda visibility was a big issue.
“I would prefer if it was manned by a serving member of the force. It would need to be safe for people,” she commented.
Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan welcomed the idea.
“If you walk down the town at 7pm it can be very quiet. There’s no one about and it doesn’t always feel safe. It is safe, but that’s the perception,” he told council members.
City East councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh claimed he first came up with a similar idea a year ago but got no support at the time. However, after taking it on the chin, agreed the kiosk was “vitally needed”.
Garda Chief Superintendent David Sheahan said he would need to find out more about similar police kiosks in operation in other countries.
“However the idea of civilians operating it does not sit well with me”, he said.
Cllr Sean Lynch asked if Gardaí still patrol the city centre.
“They are not out there. There’s no sign of them patrolling the city,” he told the Garda chief.
“Gardaí are out on the beat every day, even the Garda dog is on patrol out there,” came the reply from Superintendent Derek Smart.