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A staff member at the Centra store on Grand Parade. A man entered the shop and took a crate of beer. When confronted by a staff member, the man attempts to punch him before running off with the alcohol.
A staff member at the Centra store on Grand Parade. A man entered the shop and took a crate of beer. When confronted by a staff member, the man attempts to punch him before running off with the alcohol.
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VIDEO: Cork city traders are 'sitting ducks' for thieves and thugs; 'People are just walking into the shop, grabbing stuff and walking out' 

A CITY centre trader who employs 90 staff has said he is paying €8,000 per year to a private security firm because of open drug dealing, theft and threatening behaviour toward his staff during daylight hours.

Kevin Herlihy who, along with his brother, runs three Centra stores in Cork City has said his stores are like “sitting ducks” amid antisocial behaviour in the city centre despite paying out almost €80,000 in commercial rates to City Hall.

Mr Herlihy told The Echo that his staff at the stores on Patrick's Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Grand Parade — in particular — are dealing with issues of theft daily. He said they have stopped calling the gardaí to report incidents because the private security firm is quicker to respond.

“We have a mobile security company that patrol the city centre,” Mr Herlihy said.

A staff member at the Centra store on Grand Parade. A man entered the shop and took a crate of beer. When confronted by a staff member, the man attempts to punch him before running off with the alcohol.
A staff member at the Centra store on Grand Parade. A man entered the shop and took a crate of beer. When confronted by a staff member, the man attempts to punch him before running off with the alcohol.

“If we have an issue, particularly in the store on Grand Parade where we would have a lot of issues, the security firm would be there in a couple of minutes."

One incident captured on CCTV at the Grand Parade store recently shows a man entering the shop and taking a crate of beer. When confronted by a staff member, the man attempts to punch him before running off with the alcohol.

It was recently reported that just two members of the Gardaí were on patrol in the city centre on one particular night and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has stated the city is short 125 frontline staff.

Mr Herlihy said: “There is a lack of boots on the ground, there is a lack of presence. There is open drug dealing going on right in the vicinity of all our three stores, there is begging and it just looks terrible.

“I walked into my shop on Patrick Street this week and right outside there was a guy off his head on heroin lying on the ground.

“People are just walking into the shop, grabbing stuff and walking out,” Mr Herlihy added.

Councillor Shane O’Callaghan (FG) has lodged a motion with Cork City Council asking for an urgent meeting to discuss anti-social behaviour in the city and how to tackle it.

“There’s an issue with anti-social behaviour in the city centre and right across the wider city,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“I would be proposing a public meeting where councillors, senior Gardaí, business owners, community safety forums and residents can sit down and see if there is a practical solution that can be found because it is something that is getting a lot worse,” he added.