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CAB still on the case in Kilrush

A GARDA operation targeting money-lending in Kilrush involved searches of at least one solicitor’s office, local representatives were told last week.
It also emerged that the Criminal Assets Bureau is continuing an investigation in the West Clare town.
At the recent meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Garda Chief Superintendent John Kerin highlighted a number of successful operations carried out by gardaí in the division, despite cuts to staffing levels.
In December 2013, 11 people were arrested in connection with illegal money-lending in the town, following a six-month operation involving 130 gardaí.
The chief superintendent outlined that the investigation included searches of offices, solicitors’ offices, private homes and computers and that CAB is still investigating suspected proceeds of criminal conduct in the area.
“This was the only operation of its kind for the last two years,” he stated. Such was the success of the operation that former superintendent in the West Clare area, Seamus Nolan, has been invited to other garda districts to speak about it.
Chief Supt Kerin said while it required a major investment of resources, “we owed it to the people of Kilrush”.
A second operation outlined by the chief superintendent at the meeting related to ‘boyracers’ and while it was successful from a garda perspective, he said he “would have certain views regarding how it was dealt with in the circuit court”.
The problem of ‘boyracing’ is also back on the increase, he stated.
“If you are living in rural areas, they have a massive impact on you. If we look at the roads, it is starting to increase again because of the upturn in the economy. These people have money to spend on their cars and tyres and so on again,” he said.
Chief Supt Kerin pointed to a 2013/2014 undercover drug-purchasing operation, which resulted in the prevention of other crime, including a burglary on two elderly people in North Clare.
A further operation relating to drugs in the north and west of the county, outlined by the chief superintendent, was carried out late last year by in the region of 100 gardaí. It saw 29 drug searches take place.
“This operation has had a massive impact on burglaries in the West and North Clare area,” he said, adding that the operations had resulted in “significant disruption to criminality in West and North Clare”.
“There are a number of other operations underway at the moment but these take resources and time but we are not able to talk about them,” he added.
The chief superintendent was eager to stress that overall in the county, reported crime was down by more than one-third from 2008 to 2014.
“There is always a perception that burglaries are on the increase but if you look at the figures, there were 176 less burglaries in 2014 than in 2008 and 380 less thefts,” he said.
Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences more than doubled in the same period, going from 13 to 30. Gardaí attribute much of this increase to “people with heroin and drug addictions”.
“There was a period where there was five or six robberies carried out around Ennis town by a group of young people, who were carrying out robberies of people. They were walking around the town at night and robbing or threatening to rob people of their cash. You get little spikes and bubbles in that kind of crime, so that would have added to the figures.
“The vast majority of those crimes were committed in Ennis and it was mainly young people, 15, 16 or 17-year-olds around Ennis, looking at people who were vulnerable, maybe other young people and threatening to take the phones off them or they would beat them or looking for small amounts of cash. That would be the vast majority of them. Then there would be another five or six robberies of people going into shops and silly kinds of robberies, where they just needed cash for drugs, to feed their drug habits,” the chief superintendent explained.
The 2014 figures show that there were 10 reported robberies from establishments over the course of the year, of which seven detections were made.
Six of the total figure were in Shannon town, including one shop that was robbed three times. Two of the robberies were in Ennis, the other two in Kilrush.
There were 16 robberies from people last year and 14 detections, with 13 people subsequently charged. Three-quarters of the robberies from people were in Ennis, two of the robberies were in Kilrush, one in Shannon and one in Sixmilebridge

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