Town seeks support of courts to tackle rugby ‘rowdies’

A LARGE Garda operation targeting troublemakers is planned next month to safeguard a hugely successful rugby tournament.

Gardaí in Kinsale, Co Cork, have made a submission to the courts service seeking special court hearings during the Kinsale Sevens tournament which takes place from May 2 to 4.

The move is designed to deal swiftly with offenders. Town authorities sent out a strong warning last night ahead of the tournament’s launch next week — troublemakers are not welcome.

The tournament was founded 20 years ago by Kinsale Rugby Club and has grown to become one of Europe’s top Sevens’ tournaments. It attracts teams from all over the world.

But it has been overshadowed in recent years by violence and public disorder on the fringes.

Last year there were up to 40 arrests, including t two serious assaults, both of which are going through the courts.

At the time residents, particularly in the Long Quay area, said they felt like prisoners in their own homes.

They called on the authorities to take action. Town Mayor Cllr Mary Evans (FG) said several meetings on how to tackle the problem have taken place between interested groups.

She told a town council meeting last night that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated this year.

Dozens of extra gardaí will be drafted in from the West Cork Division.

They have promised to crack down on anti-social behaviour and public drinking.

A Garda spokesman warned that anyone found breaching the drinking bylaws will be issued with an on-the-spot fine of €30.

Refusal to pay could land offenders in court, he said.

Drugs squad officers will mingle with the crowds and it is hoped the garda mounted unit will be on duty.

“We take our town and what we offer very seriously,” Ms Evans said.

“We provide a wide variety of sporting, cultural, food, fun and festival events that appeal to a large number of people, visitor and resident alike.

“The common denominator for all the events is that they should be as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

“If you want to behave in an unacceptable manner stay at home, do not come to Kinsale as it is not the place for you.”

She said the town council will continue to work with local groups to ensure “that the events of the coming season and the level of enjoyment is not marred by a few people”.

This year’s Heineken-sponsored Kinsale Sevens will be launched on Friday week.

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