A CORK TD has criticised the hundreds of people who gathered at a 'car meet' in Cork over the weekend in contravention of public health guidelines, saying those who attended "should know better".
On Saturday night, Gardaí intervened in an organised car meet of around 800 people who had gathered at Little Island.
In excess of 250 vehicles were in attendance at the event at Eastgate.
When Gardaí arrived at the scene they found 700 to 800 persons gathered, with "very little evidence of social distancing, wearing of face coverings or general compliance with public health guidelines".
Gardaí say the ages of participants included older males in their 30s and 40s, some accompanied by young children, but "mainly males and females in their 20s".
Participants had travelled from outside the greater Cork area and various parts of Munster.
The Senior Garda Inspector at the event described it as "a disgraceful gathering of persons, despite the health advice in the last few days".
In a statement issued yesterday, Gardaí said they "immediately engaged" with the large group and "advised them to disperse, a direction which was complied with by all in attendance within a short period of time".
"There were no public order incidents and sufficient Gardaí attended the scene to effectively disperse the gathering.
"One male, aged in his late 20s, was arrested for drunkenness offences, later charged and bailed to appear in court at a later date, and one car was seized under section 41 Road Traffic Act," the statement continued.
Under the current restrictions, it is a criminal offence to organise outdoor events attended by more than 15 people.
"While this event appears to have been organised on social media, An Garda Síochána has and will continue to investigate any event held in breach of the Covid-19 regulations and advice will be sought from the DPP in each case.
"Travel restrictions have been eased for the Christmas period, however, individuals still have personal social responsibility in attending events, wearing of face coverings and social distancing.
"These are not penal regulations, but they are public health guidelines which should be followed by all," Gardaí stated.
Gardaí took the opportunity to remind the public that Covid-19 "remains a public health crisis and is a real threat to everyone, particularly the most vulnerable in our society".
"The virus is still spreading. It is still leading to serious illness and death.
"An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations in order to continue to save lives," they said.
Speaking to, Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O'Sullivan said he was heading to a shop in the area when he spotted the "swarms of cars" with people standing around chatting.
"I observed groups with no masks and very little social distancing.
"It was a cold night and all the cars were loud and revving, so they naturally huddled together to chat," he said.
Deputy O'Sullivan said that while the area typically attracts "boy racers" he had never seen anything on that scale before.
He commended the Gardaí on their efforts to control the situation but appealed to people to take responsibility for their own actions.