The Irish Independent - Monday, March 05, 2007

Report due soon to tackle city's crime wave

By Barry Duggan

A REPORT commissioned to tackle serious crime and violence in the troubled suburbs of Limerick will be presented to the Government within three weeks.
Former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald is putting the finishing touches to his report, which will tackle all social issues, including crime and education, in the Moyross and Southill areas.

He expects his recommendations to be brought before senior government officials by month's end.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, Mr Fitzgerald said the report would include short-term recommendations to tackle immediate difficulties and longer term solutions for other issues.

The final report will be presented to a cabinet sub-committee, who will decide what recommendations to implement.

Mr Fitzgerald said he had been working in Limerick every week since last December. "There are a lot of things which need to be done very quickly. Some problems are more acute than others and these have to be tackled first," he said.


He stressed that the right solutions to a variety of problems had to be found.

"The focus of the report will be longer term solutions over the next five years. These problems will have to be dealt with in a more structured way."

However, it is understood that 20 extra gardai will soon be deployed in at Henry Street, Mayorstone and Roxboro Road garda stations after representations from Mr Fitzgerald.

The new officers to Limerick will focus on community policing.

Mr Fitzgerald was appointed by the Government to head up the special taskforce last October after several high-profile incidents in Moyross, including an arson attack on two children and an upsurge in gangland violence.

Mr Fitzgerald's initial remit was to issue recommendations to tackle problems on the city's northside but his authority was subsequently extended to cover other parts of Limerick, including Southill.

"I am continuing to talk to people who are in the coalface," he said. "There have been a lot of meetings with community groups and I have received nothing but goodwill from everyone."