THE PEOPLE of Rathkeale are determined not to let a handful of unruly families damage the area’s reputation, a local councillor believes, one week after serious disturbances took place throughout the West Limerick town.
Cllr Stephen Keary said that the situation in the West Limerick town was “very calm” this week following a series of violent incidents over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The incidents were blamed on one family, who have earned a reputation for unruly behaviour since they moved into Rathkeale.
However Cllr Keary said that the vast majority of people living in Rathkeale, both travellers and members of the settled community, are law-abiding and were dismayed by last week’s incidents.
“There were a couple of families involved in that, but since then things have gotten very calm, which is welcome.
“People in Rathkeale are never happy when a minority decide to break the law. But the whole town is looking forward to the [Rathkeale House Hotel] re-opening. People are being very positive”.
Two men were arrested last Wednesday as part of a garda investigation into the incidents in Rathkeale, in which at least one person was injured.
It is understood that in the early hours on Sunday July 31 a number of youths armed with bats and other weapons were stopping traffic on Lower Main Street in a bid to extort money from passing drivers and pedestrians.
What gardai described as a “fracas” subsequently took place between the youths and a number of people who had been attending a birthday party at Kathleen’s Bar.
It is understood that one youth who had been at the birthday party but had walked down to get food at the local Superbites restaurant was assaulted, which sparked an on-street confrontation between the gang and the victim’s friends.
Gardai from Askeaton and Limerick arrived at the scene to restore order, but windows at Superbites and the local post office were smashed during the incident.
Later on Sunday evening, a number of disturbances took place at various locations in Rathkeale, including the Fairhill estate.
Two men were arrested in connection with the incidents, and a file has since been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.