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Monday, 14 April 2008

Since the murders of Mark Moloney and James Cronin six homes had just been hit by machine gun fire

The garda crack squad, the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), were drafted into Limerick over two weeks ago to quell the trouble and augment armed patrols and checkpoints.
Six homes had just been hit by machine gun fire after a stolen car with a false taxi sign fixed to the roof entered St Mary's Park. The Collopy gang were the intended targets but neighbouring adults and children had to dive for cover.
Residents in socially deprived estates believed that the arrival of the ERU would put a halt to gun crime. However, since the ERU arrived, the gangland violence has been defiantly stepped up.Drugs well in excess of €1m have been seized in the past three weeks. Firearms and ammunition have been seized on a regular basis in waste ground or at the rear of homes.
Crime and gang-related activity in Limerick is rarely out of the headlines, but it exploded this week.
Since the murders of Mark Moloney (40) and James Cronin (20), every person in Limerick has been made well aware of their city's lethal underworld.

Chief Superintendent Willie Keane has appealed for the gangs to step back from the brink but the violence shows no signs of subsiding.

A man had to brought to the ground by a taser gun by ERU officers on Thursday night. He was subsequently found to be armed with a loaded Glock 9mm handgun.

Yesterday, less than two hours after mourners made their way home from the grave of James Cronin, Garda reinforcements had to race to Delmege Park, Moyross, after firemen tending to a derelict house fire were stoned by a gang of youths in broad daylight.

A black week for Limerick. Now the debate is about whether the worst of the violence has been left behind, or if further horror lies around the corner.



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