ELDERLY and vulnerable people in Rathkeale who felt they were “held captive” in their homes last Christmas have been told there will be a highly visible Garda presence, including members of the armed Regional Support Unit, in the town over the coming month.
The town’s population increases by up to 3,000 as members of the Travelling Community return for Christmas and concerns have been expressed over the level of policing operations planned for the period.
Business owners have complained of the dangers posed by speeding cars, groups of youths and others engaging in anti-social behaviour.
Addressing questions posed by Limerick Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins on the policing operations planned for Rathkeale, Superintendent John Deasy said that the influx “places additional pressures on current Garda personnel assigned to the area.
Based on the experience of Garda personnel in the division and listening to those who attended public and private meetings, he said that a high visibility Garda presence is essential to keep a degree of control in the area.
“I am particularly conscious of the views expressed by elderly and vulnerable people who suggest being ‘held captive’ during the festive period and cannot go about their routine business. They seek re-assurance from Garda visibility in the area.”
Supt Deasy said that uniformed Gardaí will be highly visible and this “consistent visibility will be augmented by divisional and regional resources to cover the demands on policing.”
Members of the Garda armed Regional Support Unit will be on patrol in the district until early January and Garda units will conduct both overt and covert operations to actively challenge criminality, antisocial behaviour, roads policing, and drug activity with a focus on licenced premises, retail shops and fast food outlets in the area.
The objectives of the policing plan are to reduce incidents of public disorder, to make communities feel safe and to promptly deal with offenders.
Supt Deasy said that when he attended meetings in the area, it was evident that the policing plan adopted last year was a success.
“I am conscious that everyone expects this same level of visibility this year if not more”
Last month it was confirmed that implementation of the plan, through overtime, would cost more than €20,000.
A HSE triage clinic will also operate in Rathkeale from December 20 to January 4.