Fear that city is unsafe: Public order arrest numbers described as 'staggering' 

“People have come to me and said they feel unsafe in the city." 
Fear that city is unsafe: Public order arrest numbers described as 'staggering' 

There have been 628 arrests for public order offences in Cork City since the start of the year.

GARDA figures for public order arrests in Cork City have been described as “staggering”, with one city councillor saying people feel unsafe in the city.

The figures, confirmed to The Echo by the Garda Press Office, show that, as of last Monday, there had been 628 arrests for public order offences in Cork City since the start of the year.

In Cork county, the press office said 179 public order arrests occurred in Cork North, with 58 in Cork West.

The press office noted persons may be arrested more than once, and therefore the figures quoted may not relate to the number of people arrested.

Cork City Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn described the figures as “staggering”, and said the city was gaining an unfavourable reputation.

“People have come to me and said they feel unsafe in the city. The amount of knife crimes that are up, the amount of anti-social activities that are up, all are very concerning,” Mr O’Flynn said.

“It’s not just a Garda issue; it’s a societal issue that needs to be addressed and we need to be mature about other means of making people feel safe again.”

“I’m deeply concerned about the amount of drugs being visibly available and people being strung out in the city,” said Mr O’Flynn.

“I think we’re going to have to seriously look at injection clinics in the future, in a controlled environment.”

Independent councillor Paudie Dineen said there was a definite perception that the city was not safe and he welcomed the fact that arrests were occurring.

“There is an issue with capacity with cells in the city,” he said.

“There are only 15 cells available in the city and it also takes manpower off the streets when gardaí make an arrest, and that does highlight that we need more gardaí on the street." 

Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said he believed Cork city had a public order issue but he felt gardaí were making the city safer.

“While I’m loath to talk down the city, there is an issue in the city with the feeling of being safe, and it’s good to see that gardaí are making arrests, because it’s the only deterrent that we have,” Mr Cahill said.

Green Party councillor Dan Boyle said he felt gardaí were doing a good job. “The community gardaí particularly are excellent, and community policing is a good model,” Mr Boyle said.

“If anything, the manpower issue is community policing and police on the street — it isn’t direct intervention and arrests,” he said.

Public order laws

The law on public order offences is mainly set down in the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 and deals with how people behave in public places.

Among the offences covered by the law are public intoxication, disorderly conduct, threatening and abusive behaviour, begging in an intimidating manner, assault, and failure to comply with the directions of a garda.

Under the law, a public place includes roads, public parks or recreational areas, cemeteries, churchyards, trains, buses, and other public transport vehicles.

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