STRONG action needs to be taken to prevent a repeat of a street “riot” that shut down central Abbeyfeale and “terrorised” local residents, the chairman of the county Limerick joint policing committee has warned.
Armed gardai had to be called and traffic into Abbeyfeale was blocked for almost one hour after violent fighting broke out at 1.10am on Main Street last Friday morning, during which two men were arrested and two more were hospitalised.
The violence is understood to be linked to a wedding celebration involving families from the Charleville area that had been taking place in a local pub.
Eyewitnesses described the scene as “a riot” that left bloodstains on the footpath that had to be cleaned up on Friday morning. It is understood that a number of weapons were produced and used during the incident. A total of 12 gardai from Newcastle West, Listowel, Rathkeale and Askeaton attended the scene, and pepper spray had to be used as they attempted to bring the situation under control.
Abbeyfeale-based Cllr Liam Galvin, the chairman of the county joint policing committee (JPC), said that violent disturbances like these cannot be tolerated.
“What happened that night was totally scandalous. The sooner steps are taken to eradicate that kind of thing in the town, the better. It terrorised the town. It closed down the whole town for an hour. It’s not good enough.”
Two men in their twenties were arrested following the brawl, but were later released without charge. A file on the matter is currently being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
One man suffered a suspected broken leg during the incident, while a second had to be sent to University Hospital Cork for skin grafts on surface wounds.
Cllr Galvin said that he intends to raise a number of issues regarding Abbeyfeale, including policing resources and allegations of irresponsible trading by some publicans, at the next JPC meeting.
“The people living on that section of the street are terrorised; they’re living in fear. The business owners are afraid for their property. That closed down vehicle access to the town for almost an hour. The people that were responsible for it need to be brought to justice.”
A spokesperson for Newcastle West gardai said that an investigation into the disturbances is ongoing, and requested that any members of the public who witnessed the incident to contac Abbeyfeale garda station on 068 30010 or Newcastle West on 069 20650.