Gardai in West Limerick remain on alert over 'violent feud'

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

Gardai in West Limerick remain on alert over 'violent feud'

Judge Mary Larkin refused bail after hearing the evidence

Colm Wardcolm.ward@limerickleader.ie

GARDAI remain concerned about the threat of further violent incidents in Askeaton arising from a feud involving a number of families in the town.

Newcastle West district court was told this week that several members of a local family were involved in a “violent feud” which had resulted in a number of incidents in recent months.

Sgt Jason Mitchell was objecting to an application by one man to have his bail conditions altered so that he could return to live with his wife and children in the town.

He told Judge Mary Larkin that that man was charged with violent disorder in relation to an incident on Main Street last month. He is one of a number of people who have been ordered to stay out of Askeaton as part of their bail conditions.

Sgt Mitchell added that all the members of the family that were involved in the feud live in close promimity to each other.

“Our fear is that if he returns to Askeaton, there will be further violent incidents,” Sgt Mitchell said.

He pointed out that the feud had “got progressively more violent and it is our fear that someone will get seriously hurt”.

Inspector Paul Reidy also told the court that was the belief of gardai that if the man was allowed return to the town that it could “lead to an igniting of the whole situation”.

Michael O’Donnell, the man’s solicitor, pointed out that his client had no previous convictions for assault or any other incidents of that nature.

In his own evidence, the man pointed out that he was not involved in any feud in Askeaton. “I have no problem with anyone in Askeaton and I am not fighting with anyone in Askeaton,” he said.

“It was an isolated incident that happened and it shouldn’t have happened,” he admitted.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Mary Larkin refused the application to alter his bail conditions.

There have been a number of violent incidents in the town in recent weeks connected to a feud involving local families.

The most recent of these occurred on March 11 when up to 25 people were involved in what was described by locals as a ‘pitched battle’ in a green area near the Lismakeera estate.

Many of those involved were armed with sticks and other makeshift weapons, eye-witnesses reported.

Earlier that day, an incident occurred outside Newcastle West district court which is also believed to be connected to the feud.

The recent escalation in violence between the families is understood to be linked to an incident late last year in which a woman sustained serious stab wounds.

A criminal prosecution has been initiated in relation to that incident and the matter is currently before the courts.

The recent upsurge in violence has prompted calls for the local garda station to be reopened on a full-time basis. Local councillor Kevin Sheahan said the people of Askeaton had “every right to be policed like every other town in Ireland”.

“I believe the evidence is there that we need a full time garda station open in Askeaton,” he said.