Gardai have evidence that parents knowingly dropped young teenagers into Cork city with alcohol to socialise last weekend, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin has said.
Hundreds of teenagers and young adults gathered on the corner of Grand Parade and South Mall, where there were scenes of drunkenness and minor outbreaks of violence.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin, who is in charge of policing the Cork City Garda Division, told the Cork County Joint Policing Committee there is now an increasing issue with large numbers of youths gathering in public spaces in the city to socialise.
He said gardaí would be putting resources into areas where youngsters are likely to congregate and pointed out that while this is part of a public order initiative he's very conscious that such gatherings are also a public health issue.
Garda statistics for the first four months of the year show public order offences detected in Cork city were up on the corresponding period for 2020 from 279 to 292 through drunkenness offences were down slightly over the comparison periods from 270 to 235.
Meanwhile, the committee also heard almost 4,000 fines totalling nearly €420,000 have been handed out by gardaí for breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Co Cork in the first four months of the year.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan, who is in charge of policing the West Cork Garda Division, revealed that by far the biggest number of fines issued were to people who travelled beyond the requisite kilometre limits without having a reasonable excuse, such as being an essential worker. In total 2,732 people were issued with €100 fines for this, totalling €273,200.
The second highest cohort of offenders was in the category of organising an indoor event, in breach of the guidelines about the gathering of people.
He said 135 people were fined €500 each (totalling €67,500), with 101 of the breaches being identified in the Cork City Garda Division.
An additional 485 people were fined for attending these events, again the with vast majority, 372, found at these city area gatherings.
The number of fines issued for not wearing a face mask in a prescribed place was 32. There was only one in the Cork North Garda Division, six in the West Cork Garda division and the remainder in the city. Each offender was fined €80.
Gardaí also issued fines for breaches of travel guidelines into and out of the State. Nine people were fined €100 each under the provision of 'coming into the State where they were not normally resident'.
In addition, there were a further four people fined €500 each for breaching international travel restrictions at ports and airports.
Chief Supt McPolin said a lot of the illegal gatherings [parties] were held in the city and some of this was down to the high proliferation of third-level students there.