THE head of the Limerick city north garda district says he’s looking forward to working with communities at grassroots level in order to provide the best possible policing service.
Superintendent Derek Smart, who has replaced Supt Dan Keane in the role, has overall responsibility for policing across the district - one of the busiest in the entire country - which incorporates Henry Street, Mayorstone, Castleconnell and Ardnacrusha garda stations.
Supt Smart, who is a native of the city previously served at Mary Street, Mayorstone, Roxboro Road and Croom garda stations and since his promotion to the rank of Superintendent in 2010, he has served in Clonakilty and, most recently, in Ennis.
“I’m delighted and it’s actually a sense of pride that I am coming back to Limerick having put a lot of my service here in the town so I’m looking forward to working with the people of Limerick city in developing a policing service for them that meets their needs and suits a modern big city like Limerick,” he said.
Supt Smart says providing such a service will be a challenge - especially given the reduction in manpower levels across the division in recent years .
At the end of 2014 there were 614 members of the force, including civilian personnel assigned to the Limerick division - 95 less than at the end of 2011.
“That just gives us that extra bit of a challenge into how to deliver a first class service with the limited resources we have and that’s why we are talking to the communities and getting in with the communities and finding out what their needs are and developing a good system to suit each community that we serve,” said Supt Smart, who says one of his primary aims is to continue the good work which has been done across the city over the past decade.
“Being outside Limerick for the last three years, you learn things, you see the way things are done differently and hopefully the people of Limerick will get the benefit of that experience,” he said.