Gardaí in Cork city say that while large numbers of people gathered in Cork city last evening, people who were there were 'overwhelmingly' compliant with public health guidance.
Earlier this week, gardaí announced that they would be stepping up patrols and engagement particularly in relation to gathering in large groups in open spaces In support of Level 5 under the Framework for Living with Covid-19.
This has seen increased Garda activity on foot, mountain bikes and vehicle patrols in identified public spaces.
In a statement, gardaí confirmed that last evening between approximately 5pm and 9pm large numbers of people socialised in Cork City Centre.
They added: “The high visibility of members on the street greatly assisted in engaging with the public who were overwhelmingly compliant with Public Health guidelines, gardaí identified that most persons present were part of family groups and bubbles that were in the city to see the Christmas lights, window shopping and enjoying take away festive drinks and food. Cork City centre was quiet after 9pm.”
However, the statement added that during the course of the evening, gardaí in the city centre observed and intervened with a group of young males suspected of being involved in the sale and supply of illegal drugs.
“One male ran from Gardaí who after a brief chase intercepted and arrested this male. This engagement has been captured and circulated widely on social media. A quantity of suspected cocaine was recovered. One Garda received minor facial injuries during the incident. During this incident, and as a result of a small number of other, mainly related, minor public order incidents 9 males were arrested by Gardaí.”
The statement said that 4 males have been released pending the completion of a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions, 1 male has been charged with public order offences, 1 male will be offered an Adult Caution, and 2 juvenile males will be processed through the Juvenile Diversion Programme.
Gardaí said that from the outset in supporting the Covid-19 public health guidelines and regulations, An Garda Síochána has and will continue to adopt, a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
“An Garda Siochana is committed to acting in a proportionate manner and working with the community to achieve compliance.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, in particular essential journeys, in order to continue to save lives,” the statement added.