MAYOR of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, believes the high profile Operation Freewheel sends out the message the city “is the place to be” for sex.
Some 21 men were fined at Limerick District Court last week for soliciting prostitution services in the city.
The garda operation aimed to identify and convict those who seek and pay for services in the sex industry as well as those who run brothels.
Mayor Long stressed he was not criticising the gardai, but believes there are other ways in which to tackle the problem of prostitution in the city.
“The gardai need to pick up ladies of the night, take them to the pimps and examine the extortion going on,” he told the Limerick Leader, “This indirectly sent out the wrong signal. It sent out a signal if you want sex for sale, then Limerick is the place to be.”
He added: “I’m not going to question the policing methods, but it sent out the message Limerick is the place to visit for prostitutes. There was an increased number of females on the streets on that night.”
* A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated December 14, 2011.