The person who defecated on Cork’s landmark St Patrick’s bridge should be made pick up dog faeces for a month, a city councillor said last night. Sinn Féin councillor Chris O’Leary urged the authorities to use the city’s network of CCTV cameras to track down the culprit, and then use the footage to prosecute the person to the fullest extent possible.
He said part of the punishment should include at least 120 hours of community service, to include picking up the faeces in the city centre and in local parks. City Hall confirmed last night that council staff were dispatched to cleanse and sanitise the area yesterday. Officials will begin work today to try and track down the offender.
A spokesperson for the city council described the incident as “one of the worst examples of the behaviours” the council has to use taxpayers’ money to deal with and ask its staff to attend to.
“It’s mindless, senseless behaviour from people who clearly have neither pride in their city or themselves,” she said.
Mr O’Leary spotted the human faeces smeared on a column on the eastern side of the newly restored and refurbished bridge while on an early-morning walk through the city centre yesterday.
It comes just days after a civic ceremony was held on the 158-year-old bridge to mark the end of its €1.2m refurbishment.
Mr O’Leary said he is convinced the material was human waste, and not dog faeces.
“I am a dog owner and I know the difference,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I just had to stop. And it is clear to me that this was intentional. It is absolutely disgusting.”
He said it looked as if someone crossing the bridge had stopped at this location and relieved themselves against the waist-high column.
The material was smeared all over one of the columns and slid down onto the pavement. There were lumps of material on the pavement. Mr O’Leary said he hopes CCTV footage will lead to the identification of the person involved.
“And to think it happened just days after the rededication of the bridge, and to think of all the hard work that people put into the bridge refurbishment — it’s just shocking,” he said.
He said the person responsible should “be put to work cleaning up dog poo across the city”.
The lord mayor attended an event on the bridge on Saturday to mark the mark of the bridge restoration. Mick Finn used the trowel used to lay the bridge’s original foundation stone — an artifact normally held in the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park — to lay the last piece of stonework on the western parapets.