City’s top garda ‘very upset’ about suspected arson attack on mill structure

“There is an investigation taking place here and we will do everything in our power to get those responsible before the courts ASAP." 
City’s top garda ‘very upset’ about suspected arson attack on mill structure

The chief superintendent said he had been personally “very upset” to hear about the suspected arson attack which gutted the old mill structure on the Powdermills site in Ballincollig Regional Park in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Cork city’s top garda has described those behind a suspected arson attack which destroyed a historical Cork building as “gurriers”.

Chief Superintendent Tom Myers, who is in charge of policing for the Cork City division, was speaking at the June quarterly meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC).

The chief superintendent said he had been personally “very upset” to hear about the suspected arson attack which gutted the old mill structure on the Powdermills site in Ballincollig Regional Park in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Chief Superintendent Myers said he agreed with Cork city councillor Derry Canty that those behind the attack were “just gurriers”, but he echoed Cllr Canty’s words of caution against social media offers of a reward of €2,000 relating to the identification of persons suspected of involvement.

“There is an investigation taking place here and we will do everything in our power to get those responsible before the courts ASAP, and I can assure you on that,” Chief Superintendent Myers told the meeting.

“Councillor Canty mentioned about a reward going up on social media, and I would be wary of that, I think we would like to let due process take place and see what comes out of it.”

 The issue of the suspected arson attack had been raised at the chair of the JPC, Lord Mayor of Cork Colm Kelleher, who is a Ballincollig councillor.

Cllr Kelleher acknowledged that JPC meetings were not the appropriate forum for localised policing matters, but he argued that a spate of suspected arson attacks in Ballincollig elevated the matter to one of strategic concern.

“It started with a toilet, it started with seating, and now it’s progressed to a building, and my only fear is that there are houses adjacent to the regional park and is it about to go to the stage where something will be thrown over a wall and a house will go on fire, so it is a strategic matter,” Cllr Kelleher said.

Cllr Canty said Saturday morning’s suspected attack was not the first time the mill structure had been attacked, and he believed more gardaí were needed on the beat, not necessarily in the regional park, but in the greater Ballincollig area.

Cork City Chief Executive Ann Doherty responded to suggestions that CCTV cameras be installed in the park by noting that the site is 134 acres in size, and that the Data Protection Commissioner had “significant issues” relating to CCTV cameras.

Ms Doherty said that if it was the will of the council that the installation of CCTV cameras in Ballincollig Regional Park be explored, then she would be asking the advice of Chief Superintendent Myers.

The chief superintendent said that he would need to seek outside expertise as to where best to locate cameras on such a large site.

“Needless to say CCTV is a great deterrent, first of all, from the preventative point of view, and then of course as an assistance in detection of offenses as well,” Chief Superintendent Myers said.

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