STREET drinking is becoming a ‘free for all’ in the city, with the latest figures showing a massive increase in people boozing in public.
The number of street drinking fines went up almost three-fold between 2017 and 2018, according to Cork City Council.
City Hall Director of Services Paul Moynihan has revealed that 317 fines were handed out last year, compared to 117 in 2017, 50 in 2016, and 64 in 2015.
Former Lord Mayor Des Cahill claimed there is a "free for all" on the streets, and said that he witnessed people drinking and using drugs in the City Hall car park on his way to last night's council meeting.
He questioned the point of the City Council's bye-laws, saying that they were having no effect on the problem.
"Is there any actual value in us creating bye-laws, because there is no effect to them? The proof that there is no effect to them is in the huge increase in numbers, and yet again I came in to park my car and there was drinking going on in the car park, and drug taking.
"Every single week, there is illegal drinking and drug taking going on in that carpark.
"Is there any value whatsoever in creating bye-laws?" he said.
Responding to Mr Cahill, Mr Moynihan said that Gardaí would be welcoming of further bye-laws aiding them to tackle anti-social behaviour.
While the number of fines increased, compliance did too, with the Council recouping 246 fines in 2018, compared to just 50 in 2017.
Currently, Cork City Council processes drinking fines under the Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquor on the Streets and in Public Places Bye-Laws 2001.
Gardaí submit drinking fines to the council, which are then issued to the offender.
Unpaid fines are then returned to the Gardaí, who have the responsibility of issuing a summons.
Gardaí have jurisdiction over arrests, charges, and prosecutions, but engage with the council on an operational level to reduce the rates of public alcohol consumption.