Former Mayor of Limerick wants Garda chief to attend crime debate

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Cllr Stephen Keary didn’t like comment from NCW Supt Eamon O’Neill

Cllr Stephen Keary didn’t like comment from NCW Supt Eamon O’Neill

A FORMER mayor of Limerick has said that he would not agree to a meeting with the local garda superintendent if Limerick’s chief superintendent was not also present, because of ‘suggestions’ that were previously made about the councillor having ‘an agenda’.

At this month’s Adare Rathkeale municipal meeting councillors were discussing a proposal to hold a special meeting with local senior gardai, to discuss antisocial behaviour in the town of Askeaton.

Cllr Adam Teskey, Fine Gael, brought the motion under any other business, after outlining how he and Cllr Kevin Sheahan had been approached by a concerned local from the area.

“It’s a sad reflection on society when a person cannot reside in their area in peaceful circumstances,” said Cllr Teskey. “It is frightening, and I think it justifies the special meeting that we are proposing.”

Cllr Kevin Sheahan, Fianna Fáil, added that while the district will soon have a routine Joint Policing Committee meeting, it would likely “be consumed” with the topic of policing Rathkeale at Christmas, so a separate meeting for Askeaton was warranted.

“There are a whole range of issues we need to discuss with the superintendent,” said Cllr Sheahan.

But last year’s mayor of Limerick, Cllr Stephen Keary, said that he would not agree to the special meeting because of a comment made by Supt Eamon O’Neill at a previous meeting.

“I’m not happy with having a meeting with the present superintendent unless the chief is with us. There was an experience with him [Supt O’Neill] the last time we had a meeting, I wasn’t satisfied with the response and the suggestions that were made towards me that I had an agenda. I have no agenda only to serve the people that I represent,” said Cllr Keary.

Council director of services Caroline Curley pointed out that the chief superintendent generally attends the centralised Limerick Joint Policing Committee meeting, and the superintendents from the relevant areas attend the local meetings.

Cllr Sheahan said: “The superintendent of NCW is responsible for Askeaton and I value his cooperation and his goodwill.

“We have all had occasions where we felt that officialdom wasn’t the way we would like it to be.

I have never seen a situation where we made it conditional that we wouldn’t have a meeting to discuss one parish unless the chief super is there,” he added.

Cllr Richard O’Donoghue said that he is in favour of a meeting but “the Adare Rathkeale district is a big area, and I’m not fully in agreement to bring in a meeting just for one particular area,” adding that he has concerns from other areas that he wishes to address.

Cllr Teskey replied: “We have had special meetings here for Rathkeale and Rathkeale only, where there has been full support. I feel that there is a real sense among the community that it justifies a special meeting for Askeaton on a standalone basis.”