Garda to deploy armed officers; HSE reveal 'triage clinic' to be part of Rathkeale festive preparations

By David Raleigh

Gardai have announced plan to deploy massive resources to cope with an influx of visiting Travellers in Rathkeale over the festive period.

The policing plan will see armed gardai deployed to the town between Christmas and the New year.

The HSE has confirmed it will provide a “triage clinic” in the town from December 20 to January 4th.

Member of the Garda Divisional Drug Unit, Garda Divisional Dog Unit, detective units, will have a presence in the town.

CCTV cameras will relay live images to a centralised control room in Limerick City operated by gardai.

A juvenile liaison garda will also be based in the town for the period, and, holiday court sittings will also be provided to gardai, if required.

During the festive period the town’s population can swell by up to 3,000.

Speed ramps have been placed throughout the town by Limerick City and County Council in an effort to curb concerns over over road traffic issues.

Gardai said their policing plan is a direct response to concerns raised by the local settled and local Traveller population.

Last year’s operation cost €22,000 and was “very successful” gardai said.

This year’s plan is being headed up by the District Superintendent John Deasy and Inspector Alan Cullen.

The operation will target “anti social behavior”, “dangerous driving”, “littering” and drug offences.

Gardai will maintain a presence at local schools, during pupil drop-off and pick-up times.

A garda personnel carrier will also be based in the town on a 24/7 basis.

“Our plan will have a four-prong approach - dealing with, anti-social behaviour; roads policing and enforcement; criminality; and drug activity,” Superintendent Deasy said.

“Our objective is got make sure every part of the community in Rathkeale are able to go about their business without being interfered with.”

“There have been issues raised in relation to anti-special behaviour and road policing issues with young offenders.”

“We’ve listened to people and we’ve listened to when they think the optimum need for a policing presence is, and we’ll factor that into our plan.”

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