‘Rubbernecking’ at fire-damaged Cork shopping centre a danger, garda chief says

‘Rubbernecking’ at fire-damaged Cork shopping centre a danger, garda chief says
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin announced that 32 provisional gardaí arrived in Cork City

A screen is to be erected to prevent a tragedy because drivers are ‘rubbernecking’ at a fire-damaged shopping centre in Cork City.

Superintendent Colm O’Sullivan said work on the screen at Douglas Shopping Centre started yesterday, but it may take one or two weeks to complete.

Demolition work on the site is to stop until a screen is in place and Mr O’Sullivan urged drivers to focus on the road.

“It’s a miracle that no one’s been killed with people rubbernecking at the site”, Fine Gael councillor Jerry Buttimer said at a Joint Policing Committee in Cork, where news of the screen was announced.

Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin announced that 32 provisional gardaí arrived in Cork City yesterday to support the Christmas policing plan across the city and suburbs.

Although only eight will remain in the city permanently after January, Supt McPolin said Garda Commissioner Drew Harris “was aware of resource issues in the city” he was confident that Cork would receive significantly more gardaí in 2020.

Independent councillor Paudie Dineen raised concern about “open drug-taking” in the city centre and called for a “zero-tolerance” approach with increased stop and search.

“There’s no smoke without fire, and there’s a lot of smoke out there,” he said.

However, Mr McPolin said that gardaí are “proactively targeting street dealers” in the city, CAB officers have been in Cork and gardaí are working with the HSE and other service providers to tackle the issue of drug abuse.

Gardaí are also targeting “assault hotspots” in the city with increased patrols and a pro-active policy in the search and seizure of weapons.

Youths from Cork City “marauding” in north and West Cork at night was identified as an area in which gardaí are clamping down.

Robbery from a person was up 85% in the city, menacing phonecalls were up 70%, and murder was up by one death, representing a 50% rise.

Sexual assault was up by 12% between January and October compared to the same period last year.

Overall, crime statistics were relatively stable or down compared to last year.

“Cork city is a law-abiding, peaceful place for visitors and residents alike with a vibrant day and night-time economy,” said Mr McPolin.

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