FOR more than three decades Sean Lynch has worked at bringing the country's most feared criminals to justice for the pain and misery they inflicted on innocent victims, their own associates and numerous families.
"I want to bring the same level of dedication and determination that I did in the guards. I hope my reputation would follow me into politics – never give up and get the job done," Mr Lynch told the Sunday Independent.
The recently retired senior detective was involved in up to 20 murder investigations since graduating from the garda training college in 1982. He has been based in Limerick city since 1987 and was a key officer involved in the break-up of the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang. Less than 24 hours after rugby player Shane Geoghegan was murdered in 2008, Mr Lynch had the crucial evidence and entire background on how gang boss John Dundon attempted to gun down a rival criminal.
Married to Valerie with four children, Mr Lynch said his previous job has greatly changed and not for the better of the public.
"The guards are under resourced, underpaid and under increasing pressure to respond to calls and cannot give priority to incidents as they don't have the staff. The government do not understand what is going on at ground level and morale amongst officers is very low. This is unfair on victims and the people they are trying to serve.
"Officers cannot be vocal on this – it will cost them their jobs. Some are travelling long distances for work and in some cases, sleep in their cars overnight if they are finished a shift at 11pm and are on again at 7am.
"I am highlighting the guards as I spent 31 years in it but there are so many issues which I believe elected councillors do not understand. All any parent wants for their child is to keep them off the streets. There are three keys for this – education, sport and employment.
"Mental health is also a major aspect of life and everyone is afraid to talk about it. It is a massive issue and we have to offer necessary supports and provide the services," he said.
Mr Lynch accepts he will face some criticism for running for Fianna Fail.
"I am new to politics and don't carry any baggage. This is a new Fianna Fail with new faces. What happened in the past is over. If we continue to live in the past, there is no hope for the future," he said.
Limerick Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins said the party were delighted that the former detective has put his name forward.
"Sean represents everything that Fianna Fail stand for. He is tough on law and order and his heavily involved in his community and sport. His parents were from North Tipperary and were very involved the former government minister Michael Smith. He is contesting Limerick City West – a mix of rural and urban and has an experience and knowledge level that will be to the benefit of all," Mr Collins said.