FIVE Limerick city men who are accused of engaging in violent disorder were refused bail after gardai alleged they are members of feuding criminal gangs.
The five accused, who range in age from 18 to 26, are each accused of being involved in a “violent altercation” at Dominick Street at around 2.25pm on April 14, last.
They are: Erol Ibrahim, aged 26, of Ceol Na hAbhann, Caherconlish; Richard Treacy, aged 26, of Downey Street, Killalee; Owen Treacy, aged 18, of St Munchin’s Street, St Mary’s Park; Joseph Keane, aged 26, of Garryowen House, Greenhills Road, and Kurt Ryan, aged 22, of Cliona Park, Moyross.
During the course of separate bail applications, which lasted for more than eight hours in total, it was alleged the incident happened when up to ten men from rival factions clashed at the social welfare offices on Dominick Street.
It is alleged the incident began inside the Intreo offices and “spilled outside” onto the public street.
Objecting to bail, Sergeant Padraic Byrnes said members of the public - including women and children - were forced to flee from the area when the violence erupted.
He added that the road was “effectively blocked” as those involved in the incident fought in the middle of the road.
Det Sgt Byrnes said he believed the incident was connected with an increase in recent hostilities between members of criminal organisations which are primarily based in the Moyross and Saint Mary’s Park areas.
In recent months there have been “green shoots and a reemergence of the feud which dogged the city for years”.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told at least 18 murders can be directly linked to the feud over the past 14 years and that gardai fear there could be a further loss of life given the recent escalation incident involving the “new wave” of gang members.
Det Sgt Byrnes alleged that each of the accused men are “leading” members of the criminal organisations.
He said the organisations have access to firearms and weapons and are “well financed” through the distribution of illicit drugs.
In relation to the incident, Detective Sergeant Byrnes said investigations are continuing and that a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He agreed, when being cross-examined during a number of the bail applications that no weapons were used during the incident and that there were no serious injuries.
However, he told the court he “could not agree” with suggestions that it was not a serious incident.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan also gave evidence during each of the bail applications. However his evidence cannot be reported for legal reasons.