'We are going down a dangerous road': Calls to tackle large gatherings at city centre amenities

'We are going down a dangerous road': Calls to tackle large gatherings at city centre amenities

Bottles and cans of alcohol left at the pier in Blackrock Village, Cork, after crowds gathered to drink on Good Friday evening. Picture Dan Linehan

There has been sharp criticism of the behaviour of some as crowds gathered at city centre amenity areas to sunbathe and socialise in recent days.

Places such as the Lough, Bell’s Field, Canty’s Field and along Kennedy Quay have become popular with people looking to enjoy the current sunshine. 

 Members of the Gardaí interact with members of the public on Kennedy Quay, Cork, making sure they adhere to the Covid-19 restrictions. Picture Dan Linehan
Members of the Gardaí interact with members of the public on Kennedy Quay, Cork, making sure they adhere to the Covid-19 restrictions. Picture Dan Linehan

But some groups are also drinking outdoors, with littering and reports of public urination and other issues as a result. 

Independent Councillor Mick Finn is calling for something to be done to counteract the large gatherings and related anti-social behaviour.

Residents living around the Lough have reported people urinating in their gardens and on their properties, while a woman in her 80s, who has been living at the Lough for the past 60 years, told her daughter she felt afraid for the first time over the past few days.

The city councillor said he was aware that it was a difficult and complex problem to tackle, but said he felt it should be addressed now before it gets even worse across the summer months.

“We are going down a dangerous road,” Mr Finn warned.

The Councillor said that he had filed a motion to City Hall to have the bylaws in relation to public drinking reviewed and bolstered ahead of the summer.

Either you can drink in public or you can’t." 

The councillor said the problem was two-fold, there is the littering, anti-social behaviour and public drinking and there was also the lack of social distancing and the problems that causes for the containment of the virus.

Mr Finn said drastic measures should be considered such as bringing in the army to regulate social distancing and to enforce the by-laws, or civil defence or have Gardaí assigned to areas over a shift.

The councillor said that while the amenities are valuable assets to locals, they are currently being abused by some groups who do not respect the areas and this has to be stopped.

“We need a different approach, these areas are being hijacked by drinking gangs, they need to be available to locals.

"The situation needs a response, it is going to get worse and worse as the summer goes on.”

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