Wed, 06 Jan, 2021 – 18:31
A Limerick TD has called for the Defence Forces to assist gardaí in the town of Rathkeale following a number of alleged incidents in the town over the recent festive holidays.
The call, made by Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue, came as gardaí began an investigation into a bare-knuckle fight which occurred in the town last Monday.
Videos showing a vicious fight in the town centre were widely shared online and shows two men engaged in a fight.
Gardaí said last week that they had enough resources to deal with a surge of more than 1,000 visitors to the town over Christmas, but Mr O’Donoghue said they are under immense pressure as they are covering a wider district.
He said the issue stems from an influx of people arriving in the town and causing traffic congestion and anti-social behaviour.
“The Council every year spends two or three meetings discussing what policing issues are we going to have in place in Rathkeale come Christmas – that’s not right, we shouldn’t have to have a situation where we have to have meetings with the gardaí to discuss one town, because of the influx of people coming in who are destroying a beautiful town.
We don’t need extra garda resources for Kilmallock or Adare. It’s only for one town and this has to stop.
Mr O’Donoghue said the Defence Forces should be brought in to help.
“Bring in the army to help, yes the army aren’t able to make arrests, but they can be there as a presence. We need to make sure that when that minority come home for Christmas that they behave,” he said.
“The army could help with garda checkpoints, they could be on the street to see this for themselves, gather information for the gardaí, find out where the anti-social behaviour is… we have fights on the streets in the middle of the day.”
Mr O’Donoghue said he was not referring to local families, “that have been there for generations, that have integrated in the community, and have supported businesses in the community” but people who come from other areas.
A garda spokesman said: “Gardaí responded to reports of an assault in Rathkeale town square on Monday, January 4, 2021. One male, aged in his forties, was conveyed to Limerick Hospital for treatment for his injuries and has since been released and returned home.”
They added: “One male has been arrested and charged in relation and is due to appear before Newcastle West District Court on January 8, 2021.”