Friday 30 September 2016

Gardai finalising 'zero-tolerance plan' to stop boozing on beaches this summer

Paul Healy

Published 25/05/2015 | 09:26

Portmarnock Beach
Portmarnock Beach

Gardai are finalising operational plans to crack down on under-age drinking, vandalism and theft on the capital's beaches as summer looms.

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Councillors were told of the force's plans to tackle the issues a week after cars were targeted at Portmarnock beach.

Two cars were broken into at the car park there last weekend, with one owner losing an expensive camera equipment.

The two incidents are thought to have happened within minutes of one another and are common at this time of year.

Gardai in Malahide said they will be running extra patrols at beach car parks.

Meanwhile, Fingal County Council said gardai are finalising operational plans for the summer, which will be "labour-intensive".

Portmarnock Beach
Portmarnock Beach

At a Joint Policing Committee meeting in Malahide last month, local people called for more garda resources to address concerns of under-age drinking on the beaches.

The council said resources would be costly, but they will be concentrated on dealing with any problems arising.

Gardai are looking in particular at preventing anti-social behaviour-related incidents at Howth harbour and Portmarnock beach, where there were scenes of chaos last year.

Officers posted photos on social media of confiscated bottles and cans of alcohol in an effort to get the message out last June.

Several fights also broke out among groups of teenagers at Howth Pier and Claremont beach near Sutton.

In 2013, gangs of teenagers openly drinking alcohol descended on Portmarnock beach for a rave that was advertised online and the event quickly turned chaotic and violent.

Despite this, Fingal County Council said its efforts in working with gardai, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail have "successfully worked" through "a targeted and co-ordinated strategy".

The council said it would be taking a "zero-tolerance" approach to the issue, and any persons visiting Fingal beaches and carrying alcohol for consumption will be dealt with accordingly.

"The transport agencies are in constant communication with the gardai who will be made aware of any large groups of youths travelling to the beaches, allowing them to assign and mobilise resources quickly and efficiently to deal with this matter," a council representative said.

Local councillor Brian McDonagh told the Herald that the problem could be eased with a larger supply of buses in the area during the summer.

"On the hot days Portmarnock gets thousands of visitors every day," he said.

"The Garda response to large crowds of young people has been excellent over the last two years and I hope to see this continue."

At last month' s Joint Policing Committee meeting, one resident said elderly people were "afraid to come out of their homes" because of gangs on the beaches.

Supt Ronan Galligan said last year's garda operation in the area had been "very successful" and added that officers intended to continue to police any anti-social behaviour with as much severity.

"The consumption of alcohol on public beaches will not be tolerated," he said.

(The Herald)

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