THE head of the Limerick garda division is calling for “strong leadership from within the community” as efforts continue to calm tensions between criminal factions on the city’s northside.
Since New Year’s Eve, there have been a number of serious incidents including at least two shootings involving younger members of rival gangs who it’s feared are trying to reignite the long-standing feud.
It is unclear what has sparked the recent violence but garda sources have revealed that one teenager, whose father is a senior criminal figure, has been “throwing his weight around” since Christmas.
As fears grow that somebody could be killed or seriously injured, gardai have rolled out additional patrols and checkpoints at potential flashpoints in an effort to curtail the activities of those they suspect are involved.
The Limerick Leader has learned that talks took place at the weekend after a third party – known to both sides – was asked to intervene by criminal figures who are currently serving prison sentences.
“They did not want to see their sons end up in coffins. They wanted this,” said one person familiar with the talks who added that those involved in the talks agreed to cease hostilities.
“Everyone is happy because the way it was going lives would have been lost,” he said.
In another development, former detective garda Sean Lynch has offered to mediate between those involved, if necessary.
“The individuals involved can be spoken to, you can talk to those young lads, you really genuinely can and I have dealt with those young lads before,” said the Limerick city west councillor who added: “I can do it [mediate] but if I don’t get the backing of the council and my fellow councillors then I’m at nothing.”
While not commenting on the reports of so-called peace talks, Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan has appealed to those involved in the recent incidents to step back from the brink.
“I would appeal to the families of those involved to seriously consider any decision they make and I would implore them to desist from any activities likely to cause trauma or destruction,” he said.