FIVE women who are suspected of committing prostitution offences in Limerick city centre are no longer living in Limerick, a court has heard.
Bench warrants have been issued for the arrest of the five, who are each accused soliciting for the purposes of prostitution in the Catherine Street area.
The five women, who are all Romanian nationals, were granted bail when they appeared in court earlier in the year.
However, when their cases were called for review this Wednesday Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told they were not present in Court.
Sergeant Donal Cronin, prosecuting, said the whereabouts of the women was unknown and that he “couldn’t be certain” that they were still living in Limerick.
After informing the court that they had not come to the attention of gardai since the alleged offences, he suggested the “likelihood is they have moved to other parts of the State”.
Each of the women, who are aged between 21 and 30, are accused of soliciting for the purposes of prostitution at Catherine Street on various dates between April 10, last and May 16, last.
A number of them face multiple charges relating to different dates.
Two of the women have an address at a premises on Cecil Street which has been at the centre of significant national and local media attention in recent months.
The premises has since been vacated after the occupants were evicted by the landlord as a result of the publicity.
It is suspected by gardai that a criminal gang from Romania was operating a brothel at the premises and that the women had travelled to Limerick due to the amount of money they could earn.
The five accused women are Ecaterina Sherghei aged 27, of The Mews, The Crescent; Nadia Hole, aged 30, of Michael Mews, Pery Square; Mariana Gogdlenco, aged 28, of Cecil Street; Danila Mirela, aged 29, of Davis Street and Elvira Stoian, aged 21, also of Cecil Street.
After being informed the women were not present in court, Judge Eugene O’Kelly commented that they should have been present and he issued bench warrants for their arrest.
A number of the women are also currently the subject of applications for Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) after it was previously claimed they had breached behaviour warnings issued by members of An Garda Siochana in the Catherine Street and Cecil Street areas.
Those cases are due before the court next week.