A SPECIAL garda unit is being launched in the coming days to police Cork city centre and outlying areas.
The unit is being welcomed by business people and the Cork City Joint Policing Committee, amid concern about anti social behaviour, begging and drug taking in the city centre.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said the unit will be a uniformed one, with members on the beat and on mountain bikes across the city centre, including outlying areas stretching to the Mardyke, Kent Station and the Marina.
He said: ''We will be targeting anti social behaviour but also will be focusing on the prevention of crime like robbery, theft and drugs.''
Business Kevin Herlihy, who is a member of the executive of the Cork Business Association, said the move is very welcome.
He said: ''There is a huge problem with anti-social behaviour all over Patrick Street and the Grand Parade with people begging and taking drink and drugs.''
He added that drug deals are taking place openly on the street.
Extra personnel are expected to be allocated to the city's garda drugs unit in the coming weeks too.
Chairman of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee, councillor Colm Kelleher, said a briefing of the committee took place last week and he welcomed news of the new garda operation in the city centre.
Mr Kelleher said: ''We are very happy with that situation.''
During the briefing, there was also concern raised about recent incidents across the city and suburbs being uploaded to social media.
Mr Kelleher said that despite the perception of an increase in crime, because of the presence of such footage on social media, there has been a decrease during the lockdown period.