Councillor says anti-social behaviour in Limerick ‘can be traced to lack of community gardai’

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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Cllr James Collins

Cllr James Collins

FIANNA Fail general election candidate James Collins believes the rise in anti-social behaviour in Limerick city can be traced back to a decline in the number of community gardai on the beat.

The Dooradoyle-based member was commenting after being contacted by city centre residents and by members of the local business community, who are worried about rising levels of crime and nuisance behaviour in the urban area.

He said: “The fact is – since 2010 – there has been a 53% cut in the number of community Gardaí operating in the city’s Garda stations,” he said, “We used to have 80 Community Gardaí operating out of four stations in the city – Henry Street, Mary Street, Mayorstone and Roxboro.”

However, he said that number had fallen to just 28 by the end of 2017.

“It’s no coincidence that there has been a rise in anti-social behaviour. If these specialist Gardaí aren’t working with at-risk young people, more and more of them will start engaging in anti-social behaviour. We have worked extremely hard to make the city centre more attractive as a place to live and work.

"The last thing we need, having worked so hard to rebuild Limerick’s reputation, is for some isolated incidents to undermine Limerick’s image again,” Cllr Collins said.

“It’s the Minister for Justice who sets priorities, and for Limerick, that priority must be community policing and nipping anti-social behaviour in the bud,” Cllr Collins concluded in a statement this week.