Supt Frank O'Brien has said that the gardai are willing to mediate between criminal gangs in the city if asked to do so.
Some of the more righteous, law-and-order types in Limerick have snorted at this notion in the past and will probably do so again in the future.
If you sit down and talk to them, goes the theory, it gives an indirect legitimacy to what they're doing; a recognition that being murdering, drug dealing bastards gives them power and status to negotiate with the law, as opposed to simply obeying it.
That's a lovely stance to take if you're Thomas Hobbes. But the gardai don't deal in philosophy. Their directive is numbers.
They can stick their fingers in their eyes and state that criminal gangs are no different to street urchins stealing for their dinner, placating the armchair philosophers in this society for whom crime and death are simply reasons to buy the newspaper.
But Supt O'Brien and the rest of the gardai in Limerick have to stop people selling heroin, importing semi-automatic weapons from Spain and shooting others in the head, be they innocent or not.
If negotiating an end to feuding violence is deemed a viable option in the short and medium term, the gardai have a responsibility to do just that.
If some people consider the notion of our police force taking these practical, realistic steps to limiting violence on our streets disturbing, so be it.
But far more is at stake here than middle class morality.