AN increase in drunkenness offences has been linked to a rise in minor assaults in Cork city and county.
New statistics have revealed that minor assaults are on the increase in Cork amid calls for a crackdown on underage drinking in particular.
Gardaí have also reported a marked increase in drink driving detections - up 28.5%.
There were 374 minor assaults in Cork in the three month period to June this - a rise of 49 incidents on last year.
There were also 239 people caught drink driving in the same period.
The statistics were revealed by Garda chiefs at the Cork County Joint Policing Meeting yesterday.
Cobh Labour Councillor Cathal Rasmussen said drink and drugs are becoming a serious problem that needs to be tackled, starting with underage drinking.
“There is no one solution to this problem, but it is time to make life more difficult for these people.
“Guards need to be more open with communities and parents and families need to be more accountable for these people.” Speaking of the guards and their part to play in tackling underage drinking, Cllr Rasmussen said: “It is easy to blame a lack of resources and cut backs, but we need to show leadership.
“Our young people are in crisis.” Cllr Rasmussen said we need to tackle the issue head on. “We need to put a policy and plan in place and set up a task force to handle the problem.
In response, Chief Superintendent Ger Dillane admitted underage drinking was a problem, but he said the Gardaí cannot take on the issue alone.
“It is a problem, especially in summer months, but we can’t be everywhere all the time.”