UP TO 1,500 army personnel should be transformed into a highly trained special force to deal “quickly and harshly” with the “yobs” who have taken over the country’s streets, a leading businessman has suggested.
O’Callaghan Properties managing director Owen O’Callaghan said it appeared society had stepped aside and allowed the streets to be taken over at night by gangs. “And yet, when those who fight among themselves, attack innocent bystanders and scare the hell out of staff and patients in our A&E departments go to sunnier climes, by and large, they don’t put a foot wrong,” he said.
“Why? Well, the reason is obvious enough. They wouldn’t even try it on because they know they would be dealt with very quickly and very harshly.
“As a community, we keep funking the idea of having our city centres patrolled by tough gardaí with power or a specially trained force of the type I am suggesting. I think if it was done, there would be loud praise for whatever minister had the courage to introduce it,” he said at a Cork Chamber Business Breakfast held in association with the Irish Examiner.
Mr O’Callaghan asked if Ireland needed an army that, on a pro-rata per head of population basis, was close in numbers to the British army. “Should that be the case? Why not create a special, highly trained force of 1,000 to 1,500 men and women from the army and attach them to the gardaí as a special force?” he said.
Mr O’Callaghan gave an example of the antisocial behaviour that incensed him. “Less than a month ago, Boots opened a new 40,000sq ft store in our development at Half Moon Street. On opening day ... a gang, with a great deal ofeffort, drove a shopping trolley through a specially built door at the store.
“They didn’t rob anything – they just thought it was great fun. What kind of message does that give out about Cork and Ireland?”
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