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Special Garda Emergency Response Unit nowhere to be seen in Limerick - Quinlivan

8 April, 2008

Limerick Sinn Féin representative Maurice Quinlivan has said the Garda Emergency Response Unit, which was deployed in Limerick by Justice Minister Brian Lenihan in a blaze of glory last week after a visit to the city, is no where to be seen on the ground.

Quinlivan spent over two and a half hours yesterday evening, accompanied by an RTÉ reporter, travelling around three of the four main areas in Limerick where serious crime is regularly taking place and has reported that he only saw one Garda who was on a bicycle in Ballinacurra Weston and caught a fleeting glimpse of a police van in Moyross with no visible presence in St. Mary's Park in all that time.

Speaking today Mr. Quinlivan said, "Justice Minister Brian Lenihan arrived in Limerick last week in a blaze of glory and announced that an armed Garda Emergency Response Unit was to be deployed in Limerick. However since then there has been two murders in the city.

"Yesterday evening I accompanied an RTÉ reporter for more than two and a half hours on a tour around three of the four main crime hotspots in the city and in all that time I saw just one Garda and a glimpse of one Garda van in these areas. Meanwhile further violence continues as an abandoned house was burned out last night and there was an arson attack this morning on another family home.

"I would like to ask the Minister exactly where is this Emergency Response Unit which he so dramatically announced last week. They certainly aren't visible on the ground in Limerick and they most definitely are not having an effect on crime in the area.

"Unfortunately we have got used to big announcements from Government in relation to tackling crime but not an ounce of substance.

"The Fitzgerald report recommended that 100 extra Gardaí be deployed in the four main crime hotspots in Limerick. It is essential that these Gardaí are deployed as early as possible and in the areas where they are needed. They must not simply be deployed to Limerick for regular duties such as traffic and administrative duties.

"The issue of Garda working hours is also a very important one. Gardaí need to be in these areas during the hours when crime and anti-social behaviour is most likely to take place i.e. at night time and the early hours of the morning.

"The crime problem in Limerick needs to be tackled at full strength by the Gardaí. Fully trained Gardaí need to be freed from administrative duties and redeployed into the crime hotspots in Limerick.

"Grand gestures and announcements from the Minister are useless unless they are backed up by firm action on the ground." ENDS

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