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Coastal residents dreading more anti-social behaviour in summer

March 24th, 2022 7:05 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said the anti-social behaviour on Schull pier last summer was ‘the talk of the county’. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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RESIDENTS in some of West Cork’s best-known and popular coastal towns are afraid of what the summer will bring, a Council meeting has heard.

Crosshaven is already ‘dreading’ the summer season as locals fear anti-social behaviour will once again blight the seaside community, while those living in Schull fear a repeat of the ‘outrageous’ scenes on the pier they witnessed last year.

Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) highlighted the fears at a recent meeting of the local authority and called on Cork County Council to update the by-laws in the county.

She said she wasn’t happy with the response from the Council to her motion, which said that the compliance and enforcement of the beach by-laws and drinking in a public place by-laws are generally a matter for gardaí.

‘I just don’t understand why we can’t look at our by-laws for anti-social behaviour and drinking in public spaces over the Council remit,’ said Cllr Buckley.

Cllr Buckley pointed out that they have had already four incidents of anti-social behaviour in Crosshaven in the first seven Saturdays of 2022.

‘As we all know, we don’t have gardaí on the ground, and we are trying to get community policing in Crosshaven. It’s only the start of the year and we’re dreading the summer months ahead with the carry-on at our local beaches.’

Cllr Buckley said Cork City Council has a sub-committee group that looks at drinking in the streets and said Cork County Council could come up with something similar.

‘This issue probably doesn’t affect a lot of other areas but any area with a beach in their area and a bus route will see these issues. It’s getting worse, too, we would never have seen this a couple of years ago.’

Cllr Buckley said it is very unfair of Cork County Council not to address it and ‘pass it off’ saying it’s a ‘garda’ issue.

‘It is a garda issue, but other cities and counties are updating their by-laws to address this with on-the-spot fines, which is a deterrent. It would give gardaí more control.’

Cllr Marie O’Sullivan (FG) said they had experienced similar issues in Kinsale last summer with drinking parties taking place at heritage sites in the town.

‘There were social media messages going out calling on people to join the party at James Fort and buses were coming down. Being near the water is also a fear,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said something has to be done and described the scenes on Schull pier last summer as ‘outrageous’, something that was only made worse because of Covid-19.

‘It was the talk of the county. Schull didn’t resemble a tourist destination last summer and people were wondering was there any law and order in place to curb it all,’ said Cllr Carroll.

‘There are big gangs of people drinking outside and this wouldn’t be tolerated in any other place.

‘You can’t have big crowds of people gathering and intimidating people in the locality.’

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said enforcement of the by-laws has always been a problem for Cork County Council and asked that they be looked at.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey suggested that councillors could bring it up at the social inclusion rural development special purpose committee (SPC) where they could also seek the views of the gardaí.

‘If An Garda Síochána feel that amendments to the by-laws are of value to them in addressing the issue of anti-social behaviour, then we’re prepared to listen to them,’ said Mr Lucey.

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