GARDAÍ, the GAA and City Hall chiefs must continue to work together to ease match-day disruption for local residents around Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the city’s top cop has said.
Chief Super Barry McPolin said he was aware that match days at the Páirc were problematic for residents, with fans parking illegally on footpaths, grass verges and accessways.
“An Garda Siochana and the roads unit liaise extensively with Cork City Council and residents groups in relation to the planning of these events. You are always going to have some amount of disruption,” said Chief Supt McPolin.
“There are 35000-plus people going and they are used to driving down to the venue for years,” he added.
He said the Park and Ride at Black Ash could be made use of and further improvements would be made to existing policies to ensure the system is seamless.
“There was valuable learning from the first match and it hasn’t been as severe since. It is something we are keeping a close eye on. It does impact on business and residents and it is trying to manage that,” he added.
Chief Supt McPolin highlighted the fact that the Gardaí merely assist the facilitation of the event and are not organisers. Sinn Féin Councillor Chris O’Leary said while they welcome the state of the art facility, traffic management was an ongoing issue.
Mr O’Leary, the chairman of the city’s joint policing committee, issued an invitation to Páirc Uí Chaoimh officials and the Garda Traffic Unit to attend the next JPC meeting to discuss the ongoing problems surrounding the stadium.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Terry Shannon said parking was particularly a problem around the Ballinlough area, describing the area as a “nightmare” on match days.
“We have more cars and bigger cars on the road these day and latecomers are parking on green areas, corners and double yellow lines. It is a nightmare in Ballinlough,” he said.
Mr Shannon called for a 2km parking ban placed on the area to stop people abandoning their cars. “The big matches are a threat to public safety,” Mr Shannon said.
As well as this, Mr Shannon said local councillors had not been consulted in the transport and mobility plan that had been put in place for Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“Public representatives are completely out of the loop,” Mr Shannon said.
Senator Jerry Buttimer said he agreed there was an issue with parking at the stadium.
“There are pinch points that need addressing as well as a need for ongoing communication and education and enforcement of parking bye-laws in certain areas.”