Parish priest calls for Rathkeale peace talks

Rathkeale Parish Priest Fr Robert Coffey.

THE parish priest of Rathkeale has appealed to groups involved in a violent feud in the town to refrain from further violence ahead of the Christmas period.

Fr Robert Coffey called for peace talks as the town’s population swelled with an influx of visiting members of the Traveller Community.

Armed Gardaí are patrolling the town to try to keep a lid on tensions which boiled over last Monday.

Several cars were destroyed and machetes allegedly produced when cars were attacked in violent ramming incidents in the town.

Last month Gardai seized weapons at a property in the town, and a mobile home was damaged when men wearing balaclavas attacked it with machetes and slash hooks.

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A Limerick gang from the settled community are also being monitored on suspicion of attempting to extort property and land from settled Travellers in the town.

Last October a Garda was injured in a ramming incident and gardai were investigating reports of shots being fired at a car in the town.

“As a Christian community we are praying that peace will be restored in our community, and that the people involved will sit down and settle their differences,” said Fr Coffey.

Appealing for calm, he said: “I would ask them to do this especially at this time of Christmas.”

Fr Coffey said that people were hesitant to speak publicly about the fresh wave of violence but that they simply wanted it to end for the sake of everyone in the community.

“People are keeping their counsel to themselves, it’s a delicate situation, and if you say something it could be misunderstood.”

“I’ve heard no real comments about it at all, because it’s very delicate, I’ve heard no one saying anything substantial, just that everyone hopes that those involved will sit down and settle their differences. That’s all – it’s a very sensitive thing,” Fr Coffey concluded.