SECURITY staff overseeing a former illegal dump at Ellis’s Yard were threatened by an armed masked gang on Wednesday night leading to intervention by the Gardaí and the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).
The Echo has learned that Gardaí were called to an incident at the yard, after which security staff were escorted off the site for their own safety.
It is believed the masked men were in possession of golf clubs and baseball bats and are linked to a criminal waste collection and dumping operation.
The presence of security staff has affected the operation of unlicensed waste collectors dumping at the site in recent weeks and security staff have been threatened on more than one occasion.
It is understood security cameras mounted on scaffolding and used to target illegal fly-tippers have been damaged and are currently being assessed by city council workers.
Gardaí are not believed to be pursuing the incident any further and no arrests have been made.
A Cork City Council spokesperson confirmed that Gardaí were called to the site and security staff provided by Tekken security were taken off-site for “health and safety” reasons.
The yard was being monitored by security staff from a portable building placed behind locked entrance gates.
No security staff were on site on Friday morning. A local homeowner reported seeing a number of people in the area and shouting on the road at Spring Lane on Wednesday night.
A Garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí were called to Ellis Yard on the 1st May 2019 shortly after 10.30pm. Upon arrival, there was no incident and no complaint has since been made.”
The Ellis’s Yard site was recently cleaned-up at a cost of €53,000 by Cork City Council contractors after years of illegal dumping. Over 4,500kgs of asbestos and 200,000kgs of domestic waste were removed in a week-long operation.
The yard is zoned by Cork City Council for Traveller accommodation and is adjacent to the Spring Lane halting site.
Local Councillor Ken O’Flynn (FF) said the matter needs to be fully investigated.
“I believe security staff were run off the site and punches were thrown on Wednesday night. Cameras that were mounted to monitor illegal dumping have been broken on scaffolding poles and the scaffolding poles have been torn down.
“Security staff that were minding the site had to be taken off the site by the Gardaí.
“They have been manning the site since the clean up finished and this is the second altercation that has taken place. Contractors putting up the fences were also threatened.
“This is not acceptable. It is city council, public owned land and nobody has the right to come in and intimidate anybody or undermine the authority of Cork City Council,” he added.
Tekken Security, who were manning the site, declined to comment when contacted.
The incident comes after five alleged fly-tippers were identified through evidence discovered in 1.6 tonnes of domestic waste dumped at Spring Lane last month - metres from Ellis's Yard.
Cork City Council workers sifted through the waste to discover personal items and correspondence in over 70 bags of rubbish that were dumped at the entrance to the halting site on April 16.