5,000 take part in Limerick anti-crime march


Thousands of people marched through the streets of Limerick today in a mass demonstration against gangland violence in the city.

In response to a call from the organisers, the family of murdered businessman Roy Collins, many wore red as a gesture of solidarity with innocent victims.

The 35-year-old father of two was shot dead at his family-run gaming arcade at Roxboro Shopping Centre last month.

It is believed he was singled out by one of the city’s main crime gangs because a relative gave evidence in court against a gangland figure four years ago.

As many as 5,000 demonstrators, many wearing the red jerseys of Munster or Manchester United, made their way from Perry Square at 3pm to City Hall.

There, a rally was held and a minute’s silence was observed for all those killed in gang-related violence.

Steve Collins, father of Roy Collins, said he hoped the demonstration would pressure the government into pushing through tough new anti-gangland laws.

“People are sick of this,” he said, of the city’s spiralling gun violence. “They haven’t had a chance to stand up and be counted before.”

Defence Minister Willie O’Dea, Limerick city Mayor John Gilligan and Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray were among the marchers.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern is expected to bring proposals before the Cabinet on Tuesday which would create new offences of directing and involvement in gangland violence.

The measures would allow for gangland suspects to be tried in the non-jury Special Criminal Court and see more stringent penalties for witness intimidation.