James Powell, Newport, and daughters Emily and Lucy were all smiles on a visit to Limerick city before their bikes were stolen
A special day out in Limerick City for a Tipperary Dad and his two daughters ended in bitter disappointment on Monday last when their bikes, two of which had been presents from Santa, were robbed.
James Powell from Newport, brought two of his girls - Emily, aged 10, and Lucy, 9 - to UL on the Bank Holiday Monday. They had a “lovely cycle” into the city and locked their three bicycles on the boardwalk outside Milano’s. They then dined in the restaurant before going to Eason’s for school supplies and hot chocolates.
So far the day had been "so wonderful" but bitter disappointment was to follow as when they returned to reclaim their bicycles they found an empty railing where the bikes used to be. "A man crossed the road to us from Milano’s, told us that he had seen it happening, contacted gardai straight away and gave them a full description".
James stated that they went up to Henry Street Garda Station and gave a statement. They were given back one of the bikes, as the chain had jammed and one of the thieves had thrown it down outside House Limerick. "A very obliging staff member, Adam I believe, had brought it up to the garda station. When I asked if any gardai had gone out to catch these thieves I was told there was ‘nobody available’,” said James.
This crime occurred in the middle of the day just around the corner from the main garda station in the region, he says.
“The crime was reported as it was happening, and yet there was no garda available to stop it? From my understanding, the thieves would have cycled right past the back door of the station, and yet there was nobody free to step outside and stop them? My feeling at the time was despondency, but as time has passed it has turned to rage.
“It angers me that one of the busiest garda stations in the country didn’t have the resources to either prevent the crime or catch the criminals when it happened on its doorstep, was witnessed by dozens of civilians, and was reported while it was happening,” said James, whose bike cost €800.
The Newport dad says his daughter Lucy was very upset and crying a lot. Emily, on the other hand, was singing so he thought she was taking it well. However, the ten year old later told him that she was singing to stop herself from crying.
“The walkway where we left the bikes is a credit to the city, a beautifully constructed and presented area. I feel that it is a shame that we will not revisit this boardwalk, my children will not want to spend time in the city. That area has such great potential to draw tourists from near and far, but not when these things are allowed,” said James.
A garda spokesperson said they are unable to comment on correspondence by a third party. “It appears from the complainant that this matter has been reported and is currently under investigation. Local garda management closely monitors the allocation of all resources, in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a district, divisional and regional level, to ensure optimum use is made of garda resources, and the best possible garda service is provided to the public and this situation will be kept under review,” said the spokesperson.