THE Port of Cork plans to fence off sections of the city quays this week in a move one councillor has described as “counterproductive”.
The authority said that following recent large public gatherings at the city quays, it had decided to fence off a number of areas in the interest of public safety and to be able to accommodate the port’s commercial shipping traffic in a safe and efficient manner.
The fencing will be erected this week, ahead of the June bank holiday weekend, and will remain in place until further notice, it said.
Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan said: “All it’s going to do is filter and funnel thousands of people into the city centre.”
Ms Ryan said: “Some people will be getting takeaway drinks. A lot of those people will be drinking outside because that’s exactly what has been advocated for them to do by the Government.
“Rather than relaxing by the quays... rather than the council coming down to actually get stewards, provide bins, actually try to mitigate the problem — all they have achieved, if we have another sunny bank holiday weekend, is thousands of people drunk in the city streets.”
Last weekend, there were reports of crowds gathering at a number of locations in the city including at the quays, with gardaí saying they dispatched uniformed gardaí to disperse crowds gathered at Kennedy Quay on Saturday with the assistance of the Public Order Unit.
However, Ms Ryan said the decision to fence off sections of the quays could make matters worse.
“I honestly believe that this decision is going to make what we’ve seen in the city centre over the last month, month and a half, far, far, worse.”
Areas that will be fenced off include areas around any berthed commercial vessels, around plant or port equipment generally stored on the quayside, and around cargo stored on the quays.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Port of Cork said: “The Port of Cork would like to remind the public that the city quays are a 24/7 working port area with commercial ships, plant and other equipment and HGV traffic in operation.
“The Port of Cork utilises the city quays predominately for dry or break bulk cargo.
“The Port of Cork operates 24/7 and commercial traffic can be scheduled or unscheduled.
“Irrespective, when a ship arrives into Cork, it is imperative the berth/quays are free and available to operate and facilitate that vessel.”
It also reminded people that no parking is permitted on the quayside and clamping is in operation.