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Firework crackdown in Cork following repeated incidents on the southside

GARDAÍ are increasing patrols in parts of Cork in the run-up to Halloween to deal with youths letting off fireworks in public places.

Gardaí have launched a specific operation to tackle illegal fireworks in the city, with trainee officers deployed to boost visibility.

A Cork teenager suffered a life-changing injury after a firework exploded on Barrack Street last weekend. However, the incident does not appear to have dampened the interest in fireworks in the city, with gardaí attending a community forum in Togher on Thursday being told of numerous incidents taking place in the area.

“It is an issue,” Togher Community Garda Owen O’Mahony said. “Residents are complaining that for the last two weeks there are issues with youths letting off fireworks, predominantly in the evening, between 7pm and 10pm. They had concerns coming up to Halloween that there would be an increase in activity.”

The Evening Echo has been told of large groups of young people congregating in Togher after dark, as well as other areas in the city centre.

“The Lidl in Togher and the general Elm Road and Sycamore Place area is seen as a particular focal point,” Garda O’Mahony said.

“There is a significant increase in garda patrols in those areas at the moment,” he said, adding that trainee officers are also being deployed.

“It is an initiative where the new gardaí coming to the district would be allocated to a particular area,”

Garda O’Mahony said. “These probationers have been in the area for a couple of months and it is having great success. There has been a drop in anti-social behaviour in a lot of the areas we have been concentrating on.”

The focus on areas where fireworks are being let off began last weekend and will continue until Halloween.

While the gardaí increase their visibility, Lord Mayor Mick Finn said parents and the wider community have a vital role to play to prevent further injuries.

“There needs to be a zero tolerance approach to fireworks,” he said.

“If people see it happening they need to intervene and stop another serious incident happening. Parents have a major role to play. Gardaí are around sporadically and respond to incidents but parents need to be vigilant. Plus, older teenagers and young adults need to be watching out.”