Members of the new chapter at last week's event.
By Evan Short
A feared biker gang that has taken part in deadly feuds with other so-called “outlaw biker gangs’ has opened its first ever full chapter in Ireland.
The Bandidos established themselves in Limerick last week with a ceremony, this as a heavy garda presence looked on.
The gang, formed in Texas in 1966, is considered by U.S. law enforcement to be one of the “big four” biker gangs alongside the Hells Angels MC, Pagan’s MC and Outlaws MC.
The Bandidos describe themselves as a “1%” gang, a label which refers to a comment from the American Motorcyclist Association that 99 percent of bikers were law abiding citizens.
Members in the United States have been linked to a string of crimes since their establishment and they have been involved in a number of feuds with other bike gangs in the past that have led to deaths.
High profile members of the biker gang from across Europe travelled to Limerick for the event with law enforcement officials also travelling from Belgium to liaise with the Garda Siochana.
The Bandidos gang has been long established on the European mainland.
Limerick has been viewed as a relative hotbed of Irish crime in the last decade with a number of large drug dealing families turning the city into a war zone.
But a series of arrests saw a large decrease in criminal activity.
Despite the strong international profile of the Bandidos, it is seen as unlikely that they will challenge established crime gangs in the city.
How they will coexist with the Hells Angels, long established in Ireland, remains to be seen, however.
The Bandidos members have established a clubhouse in an industrial estate on the outskirts of Limerick.