CCTV and better lighting must be installed in all the city’s parks and playgrounds in order to prevent gangs of youths drinking and taking drugs, a councillor has urged.
Thomas Gould will put a proposal before Cork City Council asking for more funds to be spent on protecting and securing public amenities.
Some city playgrounds have been targeted by vandals this year including Glenamoy Lawn in Mayfield and Gerry O’Sullivan Park in Gurranabraher with thousands of euro worth of damage caused.
An average-sized playground in the city can cost between €250,000 and €300,000 to build.
In May, images emerged on social media of a heroin needle which was found by a young girl outside her grandparents’ home in Meelick Park in Ballyvolane, close to the green area known as Kempton Park.
The needle had been wrapped in tinfoil along with other drug paraphernalia.
A local resident said the housing estate was being tormented by gang activity in the park.
Mr Gould said some people are being put off using public amenities because they feel they are not safe.
“We need to reduce the amount of activity that is taking place in parks and playgrounds at night time,” he said.
“Gangs are going into parks and playgrounds by scaling the fencing, they are having drinks parties and they are using drugs and partaking in antisocial behaviour.
“I’m not trying to tar all young people with the same brush but there is a cohort out there.
“We’ve had playgrounds vandalised, we have had drug paraphernalia left behind in public parks or housing estates close to public parks.
“These playgrounds have expensive equipment and are vital public amenities and sometimes can be the only place local children can play safely.
“CCTV and adequate lighting will act as a deterrent. It won’t entirely stop the behaviour but it will reduce it, I have no doubt about that,” said Mr Gould.