NewsCrime Desk

Limerick arrests linked to wave of crime in rural areas

Crime DeskBy Sunday World
The four were arrested by members of the elite Garda Regional Support Unit
The four were arrested by members of the elite Garda Regional Support Unit

Four men arrested by elite members of the Garda Regional Support Unit are being quizzed in connection with an outbreak of violence in rural Limerick.

A number of properties have been burned out in Co Limerick in recent weeks by a burglary gang operating in the area.  
 
Last night, four men were arrested in the Pallasgreen area of Co Limerick.
 
The men, aged in their 20s are being held in Henry St., Mayorstone and Bruff Garda stations under the provisions of Section 50 of Criminal Justice Act 2007.
 
A gang – with links to convicted drug trafficker Jim ‘Chaser O’Brien - are believed to be responsible for a wave of arson attacks in east Limerick which was sparked in response to terrified locals banding together against the thugs.
 
Last weekend the Sunday World revealed how the campaign of terror began after vigilantes burned down an unauthorised stables suspected of being used by people with connections to Limerick’s criminal underworld.
 
The attacks come as fury mounts over the spate of rural crime across Ireland, in which isolated homes, farms and businesses are targeted by professional burglars.
 
There are fears of more vigilante actions around the country as thousands of people attended a meeting this week in a bid to force the Government into action.
 
Speakers at the Save Our Community event in Thurles said they had legally held firearms and would use them to protect their property.
 
A show of hands suggested that 70 per cent of people would be prepared to use their weapons against burglars.
 
Sources claim locals feared the stables, near the village Doon, were used by hardened criminals who picked out targets while riding sulkies in the area.
 
The Sunday World can reveal that a violent young gang boss is the prime suspect behind the series of arson attacks over the last two weeks. The man is believed to be orchestrating the campaign in retaliation for the destruction of the stables near Pallasgreen.
 
The properties have been randomly singled out and the owners are not connected in any way with the vigilante action.
 
Despite still being in his teens, he is known to be a serious player in Limerick city’s underworld, according to sources. He has a close connection with Jim ‘Chaser’ O’Brien, the businessman turned criminal, from Pallasgreen in Co. Limerick.
 
The young gangster, who has served time for a serious drugs offence, has been careful to keep his distance from the thugs ordered to carry out the attacks.
 
“People in the area are terrified of him. He has broken up people’s houses and cars, taken everything they had,” one man told the Sunday World.
 
This week saw the Armed Response Unit ordered into the area after three random arson attacks in which farm sheds were set on fire.
 
Sources claim the arson attacks were ordered as retaliation for the burning down of stables near Pallasgreen.
 
Last week the Sunday World reported how frustrated locals are suspected of taking the law into their own hands after the epidemic of break-ins in the rural area.
 
Sources confirmed that criminal associates of the Casey clan from Limerick city and an individual linked to drug dealer O’Brien were regularly seen on the stables site.
 
On Sunday, September 27, a barn was burned down and two bullocks were killed in the first arson attack near Doon, after the stables had been destroyed.
 
The following morning another blaze broke out in a barn in the same locality.
 
The third fire happened at another location nearby last Tuesday, which saw the farmers lose a large quantity of hay.
 
The properties have been randomly targeted by the arsonists and gardaí have warned farmers in the area to be extra vigilant.