Sunday, November 22, 2020

Gardaí made a number of arrests for public order offences in Cork city on Saturday night as part of increased patrols for compliance with Covid-19 restrictions.

Large numbers gathered in the city centre in what one garda described as “a carnival atmosphere”.

Footage of the crowds was shot by charity worker Ali Hamou.

Mr Hamou, who volunteers with the One Human Community charity which conducts soup runs at weekends, said he filmed the area at 8pm.

It shows people, many without masks, milling around Grand Parade and some skateboarding. At one point a Garda car appears.

Mr Hamou said it was a similar story last weekend in the city.

“We will never get out of this lockdown if we keep doing this,” he told The Irish Examiner.

Mr Hamou said he appreciated many people out on the streets were young, but he added that many appeared to be drunk and were not wearing masks or practising social distancing.

Takeaway alcohol

What is captured in the footage was corroborated by a Garda source familiar with activity in the city centre this weekend, who told The Irish Examiner there was a “carnival atmosphere” driven by takeaway alcohol.

This placed officers in a difficult position due to the sheer number of people on the streets, the Garda source said.

In a statement, gardaí said they made nine arrests after large crowds gathered between 5pm and 9pm on Saturday night.

Most of those gathered were part of family groups and social bubbles and fully complied with Covid-19 restrictions, the statement said.

Four men were arrested but have since been released.

One man has been charged with public order offences while another man will be offered an Adult Caution.

Two juvenile men will be processed through the Juvenile Diversion Programme.

Gardaí also said they intervened with a group of young men suspected of being involved in the sale and supply of illegal drugs.

One man ran from gardaí which led to a brief chase. The man was then arrested and a quantity of suspected cocaine was recovered.

One garda received minor facial injuries during the incident.

Speaking in response to the events on Saturday evening, Labour Cllr John Maher and Labour local area representative Peter Horgan called for the Garda Commissioner to come to Cork this week and address resourcing issues for front line gardaí.

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