ADDITIONAL garda resources will be deployed in-and-around Rathkeale from this Saturday as a special policing plan is rolled out for the Christmas period.
The plan, which will see increased patrols from the armed Regional Response Unit and the deployment of members of the divisional traffic corps, will remain in place continue until January 6, 2013.
The special policing plan is in response to the expected arrival of thousands of members of the travelling community to Rathkeale for Christmas.
The population of the town is expected to increase from 1,500 to around 4,500 during the festive season.
Insp Paul Reidy says recent changes to garda rosters and shifts means there will be a garda presence in Rathkeale around-the clock for the duration of the plan.
“The manpower will be deployed in the area on a 24-hour basis. There will be cover each night and day and there will be a lot of extra foot patrols in the area,” he said.
Insp Reidy told a meeting of the County Limerick Joint Policing Committee (JPC) that gardai will be particularly clamping down on public order and traffic offences during the four-week operation.
“We have a policing plan put in place for Rathkeale for the Christmas period. Now we will have a lot of extra gardai deployed in the area around Rathkeale and there will be extra patrols, checkpoints and speed detection monitoring. Gardai will be very alert for matters such as public order and traffic violations such as drunk driving, dangerous driving and speeding,” he said.
The garda juvenille liason officer, who is based at Newcastle West garda station will transfer to Rathkeale as part of the plan which will allow gardai to be more proactive in dealing with young people who come to adverse attention over the Christmas period.
A special sitting of Limerick Court has been fixed for December 28 in the event that there are incidents of criminality in Rathkeale over Christmas.
Meanwhile, the HSE has confirmed it will operate a special clinic in Rathkeale for members of the travelling community over Christmas.