Warning that teenagers are ‘going underground’ to meet up during pandemic

Warning that teenagers are ‘going underground’ to meet up during pandemic
A quiet Grand Parade in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.

GARDAÍ have warned that some young people are going into unsafe areas in their efforts to meet up and avoid detection during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Garda spokesperson said he is worried, not just about the impact this will have on the spread of the virus, but the safety risk posed to teenagers. 

“They are going underground,” he said. 

“When I say underground I mean places off the beaten track. These are places where they won’t be seen, like in woods and derelict buildings. There is a lot of potential for underground clustering.”

He described how intentions can begin innocently before spiralling out of control.

“Half the time this starts innocently.

“We might see two or three friends who are naturally moving close together. 

"This is seen mostly in places like Glanmire, Blarney, and Carrigaline where the population of teenagers is disproportionately high.

“Even with the best will in the world, these things can get out of hand. People are generally reporting incidents of clustering to gardaí so young people know they will be split up on a green or public area.”

He said that this behaviour will likely ramp up as the weather improves. “As the evenings get brighter we anticipate that there will be further incidents with underage drinking going hand in hand,” he said. 

“Boredom will kick in and we are asking for parents to keep an eye on their children for their own safety as well as to contain the spread.”

He said that it is not just young people who are refusing to take social distancing seriously.

Referring to queues leading up to the McDonalds drive-thru on Monday, he said: “The insanity at McDonalds only served to highlight the madness. Adults were acting like it was the end of the world. It’s not just young people who are acting irresponsibly.”

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