BUSLOADS of revellers from as far away as Donegal and Galway were travelling to Newcastle West and “creating havoc” this summer during a cheap drinks craze, which is directly to blame in a surge in year-on-year crime figures.
The head of the Newcastle West garda district, Superintendent Dan Flavin, said that a spike in assaults and public disorder during the €2 price war between two local nightclubs was the only black mark in the figures, which he has presented to local councillors.
The figures show that up until the summer price war between Spirit nightclub on South Quay and Club Mission on Church Street, there was a downward trend in crime across the board in 2012. Compared to this time last year, there have been falls in burglaries, fatal road accidents and drug dealing.
The figures from the Newcastle West district, which includes the towns of Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale and the surrounding rural areas were presented at a county council local area meeting last Thursday.
In response to questions from local councillors, Supt Flavin gave a full and frank account of the state of policing in West Limerick, including the future of rural garda stations, manpower levels and criminal intelligence. He outlined a number of present and future policing operations taking place in the Newcastle West area, including the creation of daily two-person checkpoints aimed at warding off gangs of thieves targeting rural areas in the run up to Christmas. The checkpoints will also seek to ensure road safety.
Supt Flavin also said that from next year, local gardai will begin videotaping gangs of youths roaming around local towns and villages on Halloween night, so that parents can be contacted and made aware of what their children are up to.
As concerns linger about the prospect of further closures of rural garda stations in the county, Supt Flavin cautioned against people getting “hung up” on stations, insisting instead that his priority is increased patrolling.
For full extensive coverage, see this week’s Limerick Leader weekend edition