Children as young as 12 drinking in Cork city streets, says Garda chief

Children as young as 12 drinking in Cork city streets, says Garda chief

Crowds drinking at Kennedy Quay, Cork Docks  Picture: Andy Gibson.

YOUNG people from 12 years of age are drinking in the city and becoming “quite intoxicated” Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin has said, warning that parents need to “wake up”.

Speaking at the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said that while the numbers of people gathering in certain areas of the city has reduced with the further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, there has been a number of weekends with children as young as 12 drinking in the city.

“We’ve had issues over a number of weekends particularly on the Saturdays with youngsters as young as 12 years of age- 12/13 up to 17/18 years of age- coming into the city,” he said.

He said that some of them are consuming alcohol and “becoming quite intoxicated”.

“I would have to pose the question do their parents know where their youngsters are.” 

Chief Superintendent McPolin said that the youngsters are coming into the city and hanging out in small groups or gangs until up to 1 am in the morning, adding that such behaviour is “not on”.

“People have to wake up now and realize that their youngsters are out there. 

"They’re vulnerable themselves and we’ve seen a number of assaults involving young people and incidents of public disorder on the streets where they gather.” 

While also discussing the latest Crime and Traffic statistics for Cork City at the meeting, Chief Superintendent McPolin said that gatherings in areas such as Kennedy Quay, the Marina, Grand Parade, South Mall, the Lough, Fitzgerald Park and Bells Field have been an issue.

He said that the gatherings usually occur during the weekends from the late afternoon, though the numbers of people coming into the city have reduced recently.

“Up to three weeks ago, we had a number of issues in the City Centre,” he said.

“However, with the change in the lifting of restrictions for outdoor dining etc. it has meant that the numbers of people from outside Cork City coming into the city centre, in particular, has reduced considerably over the last two weekends.” 

So far in 2021, there have been 403 public order offences, an increase of 4% when compared to 2020.

However, there has been a 16% reduction in the number of drunkenness offences with 321 incidents in 2021 and an overall decrease in all public order incidents in the city.

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