Gardai monitor initiation bash for Irish chapter of deadly 'Bandidos'
An Irish chapter of a feared international motorcycle club has been formed and has already attracted the attention of gardai and Europol agents.
Armed gardai, supported by uniformed officers, closely monitored an initiation ceremony at the weekend where the new Irish chapter of the infamous Bandidos biker gang was welcomed into the international group.
Two Belgian policemen also travelled to the event in Limerick to monitor the movements of Bandidos members from continental Europe.
In some countries, the Bandidos are a feared biker gang and reports state they are involved in people smuggling and murder.
Senior sources have revealed gardai are "extremely concerned" about the development and adopted a visible policing presence throughout the weekend at the event in Limerick.
At least two members connected with the Irish chapter of the Bandidos are suspects for serious crimes and are charged with offences before the courts.
However most Irish members have no involvement in crime.
Members of the international biker gang travelled from Denmark and other European countries for the Limerick initiation. Gardai in Limerick closely monitored the ceremony for the bikers, which was held in a rented warehouse in a city suburb.
During the ceremony, a heavy policing operation took place in the vicinity. No arrests were made.
At the initiation, "Ireland" patches were handed out to the fully-fledged Irish members. Gardai are continuing to closely monitor their activities.
The Bandido Motorcycle Club started in Texas 50 years ago and has a worldwide membership of more than 5,000 in 23 countries.
With its signature armed Mexican bandit logo and disconcerting motto "We are the people your parents warned you about", the gang has now officially been set up in Ireland.
Also known as the Bandido Nation, it is modelled on Mexican bandits who lived by their own rules.
They regard themselves as "one percenters" - a term drawn from a claim that 99pc of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens and the last one percent are outlaws.
The gang has a long history of violent turf wars against rival gangs.
Across the globe, numerous police raids have targeted Bandidos members and implicated them in illegal drugs supply and other crime.