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Out of control Fear grows as gang of thugs terrorise locals in heritage town

Locals in the heritage town Kilmallock say the gang no longer fear the gardai and think they can do what they like.

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Damage done to a car

Damage done to a car

Damage done to a car

A GANG of out of control thugs have been causing havoc in a historical Limerick town, terrorising locals with anti-social behaviour including smashing rocks through the windows of moving vehicles.

Locals in the heritage town Kilmallock say the gang no longer fear the gardai and think they can do what they like but an extra garda has been assigned to the town in recent weeks to help tackle the problem.

A 19-year-old girl was lucky to avoid serious injury after the thugs smashed a rock through her car while she was driving through the town in a sinister incident which locals say is a regular occurrence in Kilmallock.

One farmer opened fire with his shotgun after seeing the thugs trespassing in his yard in recent weeks while local Councillor PJ Carey said some locals are too afraid to visit businesses in the town due to intimidation.

“It’s a big problem. Something needs to be done. It’s gone beyond a joke now,” Cllr Carey told the Sunday World.

“The trouble is they don’t seem to be afraid of the guards anymore which is worrying.”

It is understood there are around a dozen teens causing most of the trouble and locals and gardai are aware of their identities.

Things have got so bad that some locals are worryingly calling for a vigilante group to be set up but public representatives have said they should only be tackled through legal methods.

Cllr Carey said the teens regularly smash rocks at moving vehicles and also target cyclist and runners with rocks.

He added the group recently smashed up lamps in the town and ripped up trees that local volunteers have planted.

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Damage done to a car

Damage done to a car

Damage done to a car

“People take pride in their town and try and better it by putting up old style medieval lanterns and these guys smash them. It’s a pity because it’s a lovely old medieval town full of good people.

“People would come up to me and say that years ago there’d be festivals and things on the street and ask if we could revive it but you couldn’t have anything in Kilmallock with these thugs.

“It’s a pity.”

He said farmers have found members of the group trespassing recently and there have been a number of fuel robberies in the area.

“There’s has been a lot of trespassing on farmers’ lands as well.

“It’s pretty much the same handful of people doing every little thing that goes on.

“I met a farmer there about a month ago and he found four young fellas trespassing at his yard. He fired a shot over their heads.”

He said people locally are getting fed up of the behaviour and want to see the offenders being arrested.

“Something has to be done. They can’t just get away with everything. Their parents don’t seem to care from what I can see.

“The guards often travel from Bruff through no great fault of their own because they’re stretched in fairness but when they arrive 10 minutes later and there are 10 lads you can’t really prove anything or by the time they’ve arrived they gone.”

He added that some locals avoided going to local businesses because they were intimidated by the youths.

“It can be quite intimidating. There’d be groups of them sitting outside the chipper before the level 4 restrictions. I know people from Kilmallock and they’ll drive to Bruff or Charleville for their fish and chips on a Friday because these young lads hang around.”

Superintendent John Ryan, who is based at district headquarters in Bruff, deployed an extra community garda on a full time basis to the town last week in response to the upsurge in incidents.

Local Fianna Fail Councillor Mike Donegan said he is glad gardai are taking the matter seriously.

“It’s been ongoing for the past two years and it’s the same individuals who are getting braver and older,” he told the Sunday World.

He added that the lock down is probably exacerbating the situation.

“The schools have closed and the support structures are not there now maybe. Foroige Youth Services are closed up for the moment.”

The new garda arrived in the town last week and Cllr Donegan praised the Superintendent Ryan for acting to address the issues in the town.

“The gardai have followed up on some of this stuff and are following a definite line of inquiry. In fairness to the Superintendent he did act on it and he did assign an extra resource.”


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