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Stab City? no "Shotgun City" would be more accurate

Limerick seems unable to live down its reputation as Ireland's Stab City? Here a former mayor complains about the media and a journalist says the name "Shotgun City" would be more accurate. Hat tip to The Limerick Blogger

Limerick seems more worried about the damage moniker Stab City does to its reputation as a place of random violence. I say suck it up and get over it. Hire an Elliot Ness-style prosecutor (why not try Rudy Giuliani as a gun for hire?) to clean up the city and turn the urban myth into a Hollywood money spinner for Limerick. Jem


The former mayor Diarmuid Scully blames the media. They always do.

"The name Stab City comes from the 1980's and was actually invented or first coined by a newspaper, The Limerick Tribune, in reference to a single event that happened outside the what's now the Trinity Rooms, a nightclub in the city. But it got a place and it became a sort of a shorthand for crime in Limerick."

It seems that when Limerick had the lowest crime rate of any city in Ireland it was known as Stab City.

These days, he complains,  The Irish Times and the Irish Independent both claim that Limerick is the murder capital of Europe, something "completely and utterly false."

Scully blames Wikipedia for repeating the "most violent city in Europe" line from a Sunday Independent article from April of this year. "It is one of the most extraordinary pieces of journalism ever written in Ireland." says: The headline is "Limerick is now the official murder capital of Europe". And "murder capital" is in inverted commas.

It begins "the latest murders in Limerick have tipped the statistical scales and made the feud blighted city in the murder capital of Europe overtaking Glasgow to claim that dubious distinction.

The Irish Independent's correspondent, Barry Duggan says to blame the media for inventing the moniker is far too easy. "The term is now outdated and all you have to do is venture into the streets of Limerick any day to hear  "shotgun city" adopted on a much more regular basis by the younger generations."

He explained that the name originated in 1983 when Thomas Coleman was stabbed to death in October of that year and no one was convicted. Two months later, brothers Thomas and Sammy McCarthy died from stab wounds after a pub fight broke out between the pair. Such was the fear of the person who was responsible for this murder that every person who was witness to this said they were in the toilets at the time. More than 60 people were in the pub toilets on the night the brothers were killed.

"With the city still reeling from the death of three local men the country was left shocked when on Christmas Eve a Libyan student walking in the center city was stabbed to death with a screwdriver. Revulsion spread around the nation at the death of the foreign student and the worst nickname ever given to a city was born. It was born from events in the city and not from the country's news source. Not false statistics."

"In 1994 of the total number of homicides which took place in Limerick 75% of them were stabbings. The countrywide proportion of homicides due to stab wounds for the same year was markedly less at 26%. These are Gardia statistics. In 2004 disproportionate Limerick fell to 43% but this is still far greater than the number of stabbings in the country from the same years, 23%."

"Now almost 20 years after it originated the unwanted term still stuck and cases coming before the local district court testified to the amount of knives used and carried by the city's criminals. In July 2001, Judge Tom O'Donnell who's still the sitting judge here in Limerick, wondered aloud whether Limerick deserved its nickname before he jailed a man for a double stabbing in a late night?"

Judge O'Donnell said, "It never ceases to amaze me the fact that citizens cannot go about their business in Limerick or for an evening's entertainment without someone somewhere producing a knife."