14 arrests as gangs clash on bonfire night

Gardaí seized machetes, knives, and iron bars and arrested 14 people when rival gangs clashed on Cork’s northside — one of several violent incidents which marred the city’s traditional bonfire night celebrations.

A firefighter was injured after being struck by a bottle thrown by a gang of young thugs who attacked a fire crew dealing with an illegal bonfire near Blackpool late on Sunday night.

Another fire was set in the vacant St Kevin’s unit on the grounds of the former Our Lady’s complex in Shanakiel, prompting renewed calls for increased security or for the structure to be demolished.

There were also reports of hordes of drunken teenagers roaming the streets around the Friar’s Walk area — causing several elderly residents to live in fear.

Details of the incidents — which flared between 11pm on Sunday and 4am yesterday — emerged as the city counted the cost of the annual bonfire night celebrations.

The fire service had to respond to dozens of call-outs to illegal bonfires across the city.

The firefighter was attacked while tackling a bonfire near Spriggs Lane — the same area where an iron bar was thrown through the window of a fire engine about three months ago, causing €5,000 damage.

A total of 14 people were arrested in the Gurranabraher area after rival gangs clashed on Ardmore Ave at around 1.40am yesterday.

Gardaí from Gurranabraher had to call for reinforcements from Mayfield and Anglesea St when it emerged several individuals were armed with machetes, knives, and iron bars.

Gardaí had to use pepper spray and batons to subdue several individuals.

Six men, including one juvenile, were brought before Cork District Court yesterday charged with various public order offences linked to the incident.

Five men were remanded on bail and ordered to stay away from each other.

The juvenile was remanded in custody to appear before the court again on Friday.

Eight people were released without charge as gardaí prepare files for the DPP.

The violence flared just hours after thousands of families enjoyed some of the city council-organised community bonfires held at various locations around the city.

The organised structured events have proven a huge success in recent years, Knocknaheeny-based Cllr Tony Fitzgerald (FF) said.

The attendance figures at these events are increasing, while the number of illegal bonfires is decreasing, he said.

Senior gardaí and fire officers blame alcohol for much of the trouble which flared later on.

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