GARDAÍ in Cork have cautioned that running events held on public roads must have strict management plans or they will be shut down.
Cork East TD Sean Sherlock raised the matter with Cork County's Joint Policing Committee and highlighted the rapid increase in the number of running events across the county in recent years, with numerous road races on offer each weekend.
He said athletics clubs need a clear set of criteria when organising events to ensure they are safe and cause as little disruption as possible.
“There have been some events, athletics events mainly, that have given rise to some challenges in terms of the public safety element where there are now some constraints from athletics clubs, especially in organising road races on public roads.
"In fairness to the Gardai, there has been a lot of engagement with individual clubs in terms of what milestones that need to be reached in order to hold the event. Clubs need a clear expectation of what their obligations are when they come to organising an event.
"Some of these events have been run for quite a number of years and there will be new events," he added.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin of the Cork City Division said no laws exist governing the events but local authorities and the Gardaí can provide guidelines to event organisers. He added events that don't meet the criteria set out will not be allowed to be staged.
“There's no specific legislation covering these events in a public place and they do not have to go through the statutory planning process. However, there are policing challenges associated with holding such large-scale athletic events, primarily around safety, disruption and inconvenience to the public.
“There's always a threat from terrorism. The safety of individuals on roadways is tantamount for An Garda Síochana. We deal with voluntary organisation and athletic bodies. I advocate the organisers of such events have a well-structured management plan which should include a risk assessment and a traffic plan and they liaise in advance with the Gardai and Cork County Council. The event won't be allowed to progress unless it passes certain conditions,” he added.