BY JACKIE KEOGH
GARDAÍ are investigating an alleged sexual assault on a female at a campsite in Crookhaven at the weekend, when more than 150 teenagers from Cork city ‘invaded’ the village.
It was just one of a number of incidents that left its 55 residents reeling.
Disturbances caused by the binge-drinking youths on both Friday and Saturday night frightened locals and holidaymakers.
Those staying in a nearby caravan park in Barleycove were also terrified when drunken youths threw a fire extinguisher into a caravan where two children with special needs were sleeping.
Michael Moloney, Commodore of the Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club, described the general feeling of mayhem in the village. Youths hopped on boats, swung out of masts, jay-walked in front of cars at all times of the day and night, urinated in public, and consumed vast quantities of alcohol that they had brought with them from the city. And the general sound around the village during the weekend, according to one local woman, was that of breaking glass.
Most of the youths – many from Cork city – travelled by bus, others drove and parked adjacent to Galley Cove, and some were driven to Crookhaven by their parents.
It was primarily arranged via social media.
Many of those involved had taken part in a similar ‘gathering’ in Derrynane in Kerry earlier this month, and some have been Tweeting this week that Timoleague’s harvest festival this weekend is their next destination.
In response, Bandon gardai said they would have a ‘very visible presence’ in Timoleague this weekend.
Supt Brendan Fogarty, who heads up the Bantry division, confirmed that gardai were investigating a sexual assault on a female, and a file is being prepared for the DPP. And he added that there were a lot of ‘unsupervised children’ in the village. ‘We had instances of young people, under the age of 18, being dropped off and left to their own devices,’ he said.
While the gardai were never in any danger, Supt Fogarty said the issue was ‘not just a garda matter’. ‘The parents and the persons themselves have a part to play.’
Mr Moloney said he was ‘gobsmacked at the amount of bottles and cans’ the youths had in their possession. ‘I saw one guy drinking a bottle of wine from the neck on Saturday afternoon, and he drank half of it in about five minutes.’
Empty cans and bottles littered people’s gardens and the streets, and Galley Cove – where most had camped out – was strewn with discarded tents, clothes and empties.
‘There were a lot of decent kids there, but there were some idiots and it was the sheer number of them that was the frightening part of it,’ said Mr Moloney. ‘Crookhaven is a super place, but it is a cul-de-sac. There are just two pubs, two restaurants and one shop. The infrastructure can’t take an influx of this many kids.
‘I believe that if the parents of the young boys and girls – aged between 15 and 18 – came down and saw the scene that was there on Saturday and Sunday morning, they wouldn’t be letting their kids down there again unsupervised.’
Mr Moloney acknowledged that the gardai had a difficult job to do. He said: ‘They were trying to police an area from Rock Street, which is behind the village, down into the village and out to Galley Cove. That’s a two-mile stretch, but with limited resources, they did very well in containing the situation.’