GARDAI in Limerick have been praised for foiling an audacious plot to spring a prisoner from custody at Limerick Courthouse.
The criminals involved in the escape plan were compared to Al Capone in the Seanad by Senator Denis O’Donovan.
Details of the plot emerged a week before Christmas after gardai dramatically increased security around the courthouse while Limerick Circuit Court was in session.
Cork-based Senator O’Donovan, who is Fianna Fail’s justice spokesman in the Upper House, said garda intelligence had “foiled the springing of a dangerous criminal from the Circuit Court in Limerick”.
“The plan was that six armed gunmen on motorbikes would storm the courthouse, which normally has two unarmed gardaí. Judge Moran was sitting. One can imagine the devastation that would have caused. The audacity, cheek and tenacity of the criminals who would do such a thing would put Al Capone in the ha’penny place,” he declared, wishing to “pay tribute to the Garda Síochána for the tremendous work it does in keeping our citizens and homes safe each day and keeping the criminals off the street”.
“All over the country this year there have been examples of the success of the Garda in preventing crime and murders and keeping our homes safe,” he added.
The conspiracy to which he referred was due to have been acted upon by a motorcycle gang on December 17, on which date the man in question was due to appear in court.
But gardai became aware of the plot and there was a noticeable increase in manpower in and around the courthouse on that date. This involved more than a dozen armed detectives, backed up by members of the Armed Support Unit, taking up positions in the vicinity of the court and the erection of traffic bollards around Merchant’s Quay.
There was also a search of the court buildings before the day’s business began.