LIMERICK City Council is to take measures to ensure thugs do not mar the city’s year of culture - by putting security outside City Hall.
At this month’s council meeting, the director of change management Pat Dowling disclosed the local authority was working with the gardai and the prison service on a plan which would see the appointment of security guards.
The move comes to ensure tourist safety outside City Hall, which some days can be full of people facing court charges at the neighbouring District Court. Altercations often take place, and many people have voiced concern about the safety of people using the area.
Coach-loads of tourists are often dropped at Merchant’s Quay due to the lack of ready parking at King John’s Castle.
Although the courts are expected to move to Mulgrave Street, this is not expected to happen for a number of years.
To this end, City Council has teamed up with the justice services in a plan to reduce the problems in the short term.
Mr Dowling said: “We have been working with the prison service, and the gardai, and we are finalising a plan of action for the front of City Hall. One of the proposals will include the immediate employment of security personnel.”
It is understood that under the plan - to be launched in the coming weeks - City Hall will fund one of these two positions.
At the meeting, Labour’s southside councillor Joe Leddin said the situation is akin to “organised chaos”.
He recalled a time when there were ten buses parked in front of City Hall at the same time of a court sitting.
Fellow southside councillor Maria Byrne, Fine Gael, later added: “There has to be some regulation down there. I would be down there on a regular basis, and I would know where to go, but for tourists who would not be down there regularly, it can be very off-putting. It is such a historic part of the city. Once upon a time, we used to never see buses down there, but now we are. So it is important we put some proper regulation in place.”