Calls for vacant coffee pod in Cork City centre to be turned into Garda station
Crime and Garda numbers dominated the latest quarterly meeting of the Joint Policing Committee
Local and national politicians called for the empty coffee pods on Grand Parade to be turned into Garda stations to combat crime and make the city centre safer.
The suggestion was made at the Joint Policing Committee, a quarterly meeting which brings together local police chiefs, politicians and council executive staff.
“There are people who are saying they won’t go into the city,” Senator Jerry Buttimer said, referring to the perception that the city centre is not safe.
Senator Buttimer and Cllr Mick Nugent both suggested that one of the pods which have long been empty could be turned into a Garda station, similar to what’s happening on O’Connell Street in Dublin.
Earlier this year, Justice Minister Helen McEntee announced that a Garda premise would be opened on O’Connell Street in an effort to increase police presence within Dublin city centre.
Chief superintendent Thomas Myers said the idea “is worthy of a conversation”, but he refuted Senator Buttimer’s comments, adding that the Gardaí are running successful policing operations in the city.
“I would encourage everybody that’s on the JPC to put the message out that the city is safe and to encourage people to come in and enjoy the city,” said Chief Supt Myers.
Politicians of all hues called for more Gardaí to be stationed in Cork.
The chief superintendent said there are currently 724 Gardaí across all ranks in the city centre, a figure which has more or less stayed the same for the past four years.
Today’s meeting of the JPC heard that there has been a significant increase in the theft of cars across the city, specifically of imported Japanese models, some of which lack an immobiliser.
Overall, there’s been a 328% increase from 2021 to 2022 in car thefts, mainly as criminals have targeted a specific model of Japanese car, which police chiefs did not want to identify.
Cllr Derry Canty said that “gurriers” were responsible for the latest arson attack in Ballincollig Regional Park, and said he was moved to tears following the burning of a historic building in the park this past weekend.
“I’m afraid that is only the start of it as we have a long, long summer,” Cllr Canty said, adding that “we need more Gardaí.”
Derelict sites updates
New data shared at the Joint Policing Committee reveals that Cork City Council collected €225,000 in derelict sites levies for March through to the end of May 2022. The City Council has collected close to €1.5 million in levies for 2022.
When sites are placed on the derelict sites register, the council can place levies of 7% per year (up from 3% in 2020) on the value of the property.
Nine new sites were added to the derelict sites list, an increase of one over the first quarter of 2022. The total number of sites on the list now stands at 105.
With nearly all pandemic restrictions lifted and more traffic entering the city centre compared with last year, the number of parking tickets has shot up.
The city council handed out just under 44,000 parking fines for the 12 months up to the end of May 2022. In comparison, nearly 25,400 parking tickets and were handed out for the 12 months to May 2021.
St. Patrick’s Street continued to be the most ticketed area of the city, with 8% (3,581) of all fines issued on the city’s main thoroughfare, where restricted access has been brought in.
Failure to display a valid disc accounted for nearly 43% of all fines with 18,698 tickets handed out for disc violations.
Just three tickets were issued for parking on/obstructing a cycle lane.