THE head of the Limerick garda division has confirmed that additional garda resources will be deployed in Rathkeale during the Christmas period.
The population of the town is expected to more than double over the coming weeks as members of the travelling community return home from overseas to spend Christmas with their families in Rathkeale.
According to the most recent Census figures, the population of Rathkeale and surrounding areas currently stands at 1,803 although this figure could rise to more that 4,000 over the Christmas period.
There had been fear in some circles that additional garda resources would not be deployed this year due to cutbacks in the garda budget, which have seen reductions in overtime and the announcement this week that Doon and Shanagolden garda stations are to close in 2012.
However, gardai have confirmed that there will additional patrols in the town over the next few weeks.
There will also be an increased garda presence as additional members of the force will be drafted in from other parts of the division to assist local gardai.
It has also been confirmed that Rathkeale Garda Station will open for longer every day as part of the special operation.
â€œAs is the case every year, there is a huge influx of people arriving into Rathkeale for the Christmas period and in the same way as we would prepare a policing plan for any event that happens - be it at Thomond Park or at the University of Limerick - we will do the very same thing in respect of Rathkeale for the Christmas period and we will be putting additional resources out in Rathkeale to deal with any issues that may arise out there,â€ said Chief Supt David Sheahan.