Gardaí make 'good progress' in brawl probe; Calls for pitches and amenities to reopen for youths

Gardaí make 'good progress' in brawl probe; Calls for pitches and amenities to reopen for youths
The Mount Oval fight

GARDAÍ are making "good progress" on identifying those involved in a mass brawl in Mount Oval last weekend.

Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin told The Echo that gardaí are happy with the investigation and are planning to talk to those involved.

No arrests have been made in relation to the incident.

The update comes as Sinn Fein TD Thomas Gould, who is the chairman of St Vincent's hurling and football club, said young people need hope and optimism "so that they do not have to go around in gangs".

"The vast majority of teenagers in secondary school and in college are good decent kids trying to do the right thing but what are they supposed to do?" he asked.

"Serious questions have to be asked on whether outdoor facilities should be opened."

In recent weeks, young people have gathered at pitches in different parts of the city and county but under Covid-19 restrictions, they are not allowed to take part in sports.

Mr Gould believes pitches should be opened up to allow young people use facilities to "puck around" and play football in uncompetitive settings, allowing for social distancing.

He stressed that he is not advocating a return to games.

"My big fear is that young people would go down the road of drink and drugs," he said.

This was echoed by Independent Cork city councillor Mick Finn, a youth worker with the Cork Education and Training Board.

"This will require a special, targeted approach by Gardaí and the Council over the summer - a joint policing strategy. 

"There are usually such issues in public spaces over the summer months and I expect there to be more this year given the strain on young people during lockdown and the fact people are confined to their own areas.

"Youth services across the city and county are operating away, albeit remotely, but we all look forward to sport and other organisations re-emerging from this which will direct the energies of young people more positively."

He said that parents need to be extra vigilant about the whereabouts of their children. 

He also called on residents to report any unusual activities to gardaí.

"In some cases, misbehaviour by young people and older students now can come back to bite later in life with restrictions on getting jobs and visas so it’s better to take pre-emptive actions," he said.

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