Men caught in prostitution sting by undercover gardai enter guilty pleas
FEMALE garda officers posed as prostitutes as part of a major sting operation which brought 21 potential clients before court.
Dressed in plain clothes, the gardai were propositioned by the 21 men on several streets in Limerick city. The female officers were supported by their colleagues, who were positioned nearby throughout the sting operation.
In some instances, the officers were approached by men driving cars.
The vast majority of the offences took place between 9pm and midnight in the Barrington Street, Catherine Street and Mallow Street areas of Limerick city.
The garda operation is the first major sting operation outside of the capital to target potential clients of prostitutes.
'Operation Freewheel' will continue over the Christmas period and into the new year.
Twenty-one men -- aged from 23 to 67 -- pleaded guilty in Limerick District Court yesterday to soliciting or importuning female garda officers for the purpose of prostitution.
The charges related to various dates in public places in Limerick city between November 11 and last Sunday night.
Sgt Michelle Leahy explained that, in one case, the female officers acted as "decoy prostitutes" for a potential client on Barrington Street.
In other incidents, Sgt Leahy said the men approached two plain-clothed gardai acting as prostitutes and offered them money for sex or sexual activity.
All 21 men were directed to appear before Judge Eamon O'Brien yesterday.
The offenders, with addresses in Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Kerry, pleaded guilty to the offence under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993. Ten of them were arrested in Limerick city over the past weekend.
Each of the 21 who entered guilty pleas was ordered by Judge O'Brien to pay the maximum fine of €470 to Doras Luimni.
Established in 2000, it is an independent non-governmental organisation which works to support and promote the rights of migrants living in Limerick.
The organisation is also a core member of 'Turn Off The Red Light', which is a campaign to end prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland.
The judge ordered that all fines be paid by next March when he will finalise the cases. Doras Luimni is set to benefit to the tune of €9,870.
The judge heard from various solicitors representing all accused. They said their clients were sorry for their actions and had no previous convictions.
Some were said to be self-employed while others were said to be deeply embarrassed.
Six other cases were remanded for hearing at later dates.
One accused man requested that he receive legal aid, but did not have a solicitor to represent him.
Judge O'Brien adjourned the case for hearing until next year and remarked that "lawyers are the second oldest profession".
Named and shamed - The 21 men who pleaded
The 21 men who pleaded guilty to soliciting garda officers for the purpose of prostitution in public places in Limerick city between November 11 and December 4 last are:
Denis Enright (52), of Dromin, Listowel, Co Kerry;
John Galvin (63), from Carrigeen, Croom, Co Limerick;
Noel Mason (51), of Monaskeha, Clonlara, Co Clare;
Valentin Munteanu (28), of Kilmore, Grange, Co Limerick;
Wayne Murphy (25), from Singland House, Ballysimon, Limerick;
Niall O'Brien (27), of Ballingoola, Grange, Co Limerick;
Krzysztof Poczynski (27), from 14 Crestwood, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick;
Gary Stack (67), of Druimeen, Ennis, Clare;
Adam Pustkowski (36), from 61 Vartery Avenue, Raheen, Limerick;
Derek Power (49), of 27 Glanntan, Castletroy, Limerick;
Patrick Quilty (38), of Castletown, Pallaskenry, Co Limerick;
Gearoid Phelan (23), of 17 Castletroy View, Childers Road, Limerick;
Conor Carey (33), of Corelish, Pallasgreen, Co Limerick;
Eamon Coffey (41), from Mortalstown, Ardpatrick, Kilmallock, Co Limerick;
Michael Dorman (51), of Barrigone, Askeaton, Co Limerick;
Serghei Boldescu (31), of 12 The Grove, Huntsfield, Dooradoyle, Limerick;
Seamus Keane (59), of Coolreiry, Castleconnell, Co Limerick;
James Lynch (48), from Mayne, Kilmeady, Limerick;
Dimitri Yakoulev (40), of Apt 515, Parkview Court, Lord Edward Street, Limerick;
Makki Mutay (45), of Apt 2, Foxes Bow, 42 Rear of William Street, Limerick;
Michael Ryan (63), of Knocka Lower, Drom, Templemore, Co Tipperary.