PRIVATE security has been almost doubled and buses and taxis will be searched by gardaí in a bid to tackle underage drinking at one of Cork's most popular festivals this weekend.
Organisers of Timoleague Festival have come together with gardaí to draw up a plan to tackle underage drinking at the popular festival, following concerns about the level of underage drinking at the event in previous years.
Chairman of the organising committee, Ger Madden, said 44 private security personnel will be on duty in the village during the two weekends of the festival. This is up from 25 last year, amid concerns about busloads of teenagers arriving into the West Cork village for the festival. Organisers and gardaí are hoping that the joint operation will result in less pressure being put on emergency services.
Garda Inspector Dave Callaghan said that bus companies have now been contacted across Cork county in a bid to establish where busloads will be leaving. Gardai plan to target buses before they leave for Timoleague to nab underage drinkers. And gardaí say anyone under the age of 18 will not be allowed into night time events at the festival over the two weekends.
Checkpoints will be set up on roads into the village targeting buses and taxis carrying underage drinkers.
Mr Madden said that previously, busloads of young people were arriving into Timoleague without the knowledge of organisers.
This year's approach of liaising with bus companies aims to prevent large numbers of young people arriving at the village and having nothing to do except congregate in Timoleague. There are no musical acts for under 18s at the festival during the two weekends.
Inspector Callaghan said that targeting underage drinking is the main focus of policing at the festival this year. Plainclothes gardaí will also be in the village, on the lookout for illegal drugs.
It follows a similar clampdown at Bandon Music Festival earlier this year.