THE head of the Limerick garda division says the visit of the Giant Granny to the city at the weekend was a huge success and went off without any major incident.
Around 150 gardai from across the division were on duty over the three days for what was the biggest event to be staged in Limerick since the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979.
According to Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan, who oversaw the garda operation, the months of planning and preparation ensured everything went according to plan.
“What really worked well was all of the agencies working together with a common goal and I think it’s plain to see how effective it was. It provided a safe city for everybody who came to Limerick and I think Limerick is going to be the benefactor of this because the legacy of this will live on for some time,” he said.
Chief Supt Sheahan is also paying tribute to the huge crowds who attended the event over the three days.
“It was a spectacular event, we had fabulous weather, we had crowds that were enormous and I must say the crowds were absolutely brilliant and that made the entire event and it was an absolute pleasure to be here (in Limerick) to police this event because without the crowds it wouldn’t have worked,” he said.
A number of gardai had been working with the organisers of the Royal de Luxe extravaganza for several months to ensure the event was a success.
During the visit, a team of gardai, including members of the traffic corps, travelled with Granny along her 19km route while others manned road closures and assisted with crowd control.
The garda helicopter could be seen hovering above the city throughout the weekend as it relayed aerial footage to the communications room at Henry Street garda station.
According to gardai, motorists traveling to the city heeded warnings in relation to road closures and parking restrictions.
Just 18 cars had to be towed from the giant’s route on Friday morning - which is considerably lower than the norm for other major events such as the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade.
“I haven’t heard one crib from anyone coming into the city - the Park and Ride worked well, the parking around the city streets worked well and the diversion routes worked well and they were taken off immediately as soon as we could take them off,” said Chief Supt Sheahan.