City's gang shootings plummet by 87pc on 2007 level
LIMERICK is at long last emerging from the shadow of the gunman.
Recent statistics reveal that shooting incidents in the Limerick garda division have plummeted by 87pc since 2007.
At one stage the region accounted for a third of all shootings in the State. Last year was the fourth successive year that the division recorded a major drop. Gardai had to investigate just 13 shootings in Limerick last year, compared with 103 in 2007.
The huge decrease in shootings has been attributed to increased garda numbers and the imprisonment of many of the key players in the gangland disputes which blighted the city.
While the Limerick garda division covers most of the county and parts of south-east Co Clare, the vast majority of shootings have occurred in the city, which has a population of around 90,000.
In 2005, out of the 313 shooting incidents recorded in the State, Limerick accounted for 83 illegal discharges of firearms.
But by 2007, Limerick accounted for almost a third of the national figure with 103 shooting incidents, with the national figure at 325 that year.
At this stage, feuding among violent criminal gangs in the city was at its height and public representatives were pleading with the Fianna Fail-led government to introduce more gardai to the city.
In a wide-ranging report on tackling crime and social issues in deprived estates, former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald recommended that Limerick get 100 extra officers.
An additional 103 officers were deployed in 2008 and the number of shootings subsequently fell dramatically year on year.
And the decrease in gun crime continues with a large number of serious criminals from the city now behind bars. Feuding criminals -- including several senior gang members -- from opposing outfits in the city were all jailed in recent years.
The once-feared McCarthy-Dundon gang has been largely rendered defunct following a major schism. A series of internal disputes and quarrelling behind bars has led to the once closely aligned associates being housed in separate wings.
Senior members of the gang, including Wayne and John Dundon, were jailed this year and further charges against gang members are expected as former allies continue to provide gardai with crucial evidence.
Last year's 'Operation Kelso' also put many of the gang's drug dealers out of business.