Gardai report 33pc crime drop in gang-plagued city
GARDAI in a city plagued by violent gang feuding claim crime there dropped 33pc in the first two months of this year, compared to 2009.
But despite an apparent drop in burglaries, gardai in Limerick admitted there had been a rise in drug detections and public order offences in the city. Local politicians seized on the overall 33pc crime drop and claimed there was an agenda against the city.
They spoke as Fianna Fail TD Peter Power said the €3bn regeneration project to rebuild Limerick's troubled housing estates was still on track.
"I had a very positive briefing with those involved in regeneration last week and their proposals will be going to the Government this month," Mr Power said.
At yesterday's meeting of the city's joint policing committee, Supt Frank O'Brien said the crime rate in Limerick for the first two months of 2010 had dropped 33pc on the comparable figure for last year.
Independent councillor John Gilligan said it had been written that Limerick was the murder capital of the world. "That was far from the truth," Mr Gilligan told yesterday's meeting at Limerick City Hall.
He said he was contacted by international journalists from as far away as the US and Australia after the "murder capital slur" was posted on the internet.
"I did over 40 international interviews, some of them on crime, some on redundancies, and inevitably they all came up with the one thing -- that we were the murder capital of the world," Mr Gilligan said.
"There were more people killed in gangland murders in Dublin in one year then in Limerick in 10 . . . that's a fact."
Regarding the 33pc drop in crime in Limerick this year, Mr Gilligan said the statistic "should be put up there and stuck up in lights". Supt O'Brien said there had been a significant drop in the number of burglaries in the city, but drug detection and public order offences had increased.
Labour Limerick East TD, Jan O'Sullivan said there was extraordinary interest in Limerick's crime families, but the statistics showed Limerick crime was low compared to Dublin.
"We need to keep saying that . . . because the consequences for our city are entirely negative."