FIVE Limerick city men who are accused of engaging in violent disorder during an incident in the city centre last month will today seek bail in the High Court.
Three weeks ago, the five - who range in age from 19 to 27 - were refused bail in the district court after a number of senior gardai alleged they are members of feuding criminal gangs.
Each of the accused faces a single charge in relation to what was described as a “violent altercation” at Dominic Street at around 2.25pm on April 14, last.
The five accused are: Erol Ibrahim, aged 27, of Ceol Na hAbhann, Caherconlish; Richard Treacy, aged 26, of Downey Street, Killalee; Owen Treacy, aged 19, of St Munchin’s Street, St Mary’s Park; Joseph Keane, aged 26, of Garryowen House, Greenhills Road, and Kurt Ryan, aged 22, of Cliona Park, Moyross.
During the course of separate bail applications in the district court, which lasted for more than eight hours in total, it was alleged the incident happened when up to ten men from rival factions clashed at the social welfare offices on Dominic Street.
It is alleged the incident, which lasted for several minutes, began inside the Intreo offices and “spilled outside” onto the public street.
Objecting to bail, Detective Sergeant Padraic Byrnes said members of the public - including women and children - were forced to flee from the area when the violence erupted.
He said it is the State case that the road was “effectively blocked” as those involved in the incident fought in the middle of the road.
There was no evidence of any weapons being used or injuries being sustained.
Det Sgt Byrnes said he believed the incident was connected with an increase in recent hostilities between members of criminal organisations which are primarily based in the Moyross and Saint Mary’s Park areas.
In recent months, he said, there have been “green shoots and a re-emergence of the feud which dogged the city for years”.
The head of the Limerick garda division - Chief Superintendent David Sheahan - also gave evidence during each of the bail applications but details of his evidence cannot be reported for legal reasons.
It is expected that he will again give evidence before Mr Justice Paul Butler at a specially-fixed bail hearing in the High Court today.
Investigations into last month’s incident are continuing as gardai are preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions.