A feared biker gang that has taken part in deadly feuds with other so-called “outlaw biker gangs’ opened its first ever full chapter in Ireland. The Bandidos established themselves in Limerick in October 2016 with a ceremony that was heavily attended by the Gardaí (Irish police). The biker 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 traveled to Limerick for the event with law enforcement officials also traveling 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, a biker gang 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.
This article first appeared in the Irish Echo. For more stories, visit their website here.
*Originally published in 2016.