'Totally unacceptable': Frustration after crowds gather at The Lough on St Patrick's Day

'Totally unacceptable': Frustration after crowds gather at The Lough on St Patrick's Day

A garda van at the Lough, Cork, after gardaí had to move a crowd on St. Patrick's Day.

LATEST: There have been calls made for the re-examination of by-laws and current public health guidelines following disruptive behaviour in The Lough area, which has left local residents feeling frustrated.

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD said that residents in The Lough area have expressed concern after crowds flocked to the area amid the good weather of recent days.

The Cork South-Central TD said that residents were in contact with him and reported issues with rubbish, drinking in front of homes and urinating in front of homes.

“There’s been issues around people drinking in front of houses, people urinating in front of their houses, cans and rubbish being thrown around the place,” he said.

“It’s just not fair. It’s not fair on residents.” 

Empty bottles, cans, etc., placed in bags and a box at the Lough, Cork, after gardaí had to move a crowd on St. Patrick's Day.Picture Denis Minihane.
Empty bottles, cans, etc., placed in bags and a box at the Lough, Cork, after gardaí had to move a crowd on St. Patrick's Day.Picture Denis Minihane.

Mr Ó Laoghaire said that the situation appeared to get more disruptive as the evening progressed and appealed to those using public amenities to show respect for local residents.

Cllr Mick Finn was in the area and described the scenes as “totally unacceptable”. 

“We had problems there last summer where there were large gatherings of people drinking and stuff in the good weather after the restrictions were imposed but yesterday was at a different level,” he said.

“It was the worst I’ve seen it in a long time.” 

Cllr Finn called for a “zero-tolerance approach” for breaches of bye-laws as well as Covid-19 restrictions.

Noting the current restrictions, he said that extending the 5km radius could help to disperse crowds and prevent large gatherings. 

“You have the two issues. The local by-laws are being breached- there should be no alcohol consumed in a public place like The Lough - and then you have the pandemic breaches, so it was a double whammy really.” 

In the aftermath of St Patrick’s Day, he said that local residents are “frustrated”.

“Residents are just sick to the teeth of having to clean up after people who are using The Lough for the wrong purpose,” he added.

In a statement, Gardaí said: “An Garda Síochána did engage with a number of groups over the course of the day, including in The Lough area.

“It is anticipated that a number of FPNs [Fixed Penalty Notices] for breaches of Public Health regulations (including travel restrictions and house parties) will be issued over the coming days.”

EARLIER: Residents living around The Lough in Cork city have expressed their frustration and anger following gatherings at the amenity on St Patrick's Day.

Speaking on 96fm's Opinion Line with PJ Coogan, Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said he had been contacted by concerned residents, some of whom had seen people urinating publicly.

“No matter where you live that is just not acceptable.

"It is profoundly unfair on those residents to have to be dealing with this," he said.

“I would ask people to respect local residents. 

"Just think about your own family and your own home and if people were urinating outside the doorway, throwing rubbish around the place, cans. All that kind of stuff," Mr Ó Laoghaire added.

He also pleaded with people ahead of the summer months to use their "sense of cop-on” when it comes to gathering, and to keep local residents in mind.

In a statement on Thursday, gardaí said: “An Garda Síochána did engage with a number of groups over the course of the day, including in The Lough area.

“It is anticipated that a number of FPNs [Fixed Penalty Notices] for breaches of Public Health regulations (including travel restrictions and house parties) will be issued over the coming days.”

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