TWO men are helping Youghal Gardaí with their investigation into a foiled raid on the clothes bins in Tesco Youghal’s recycling facility, in the early hours of Sunday, March 6th. - By Christy Parker
The Gardaí arrived following reports of a noisy disturbance at the location at about 3am. They discovered a D-reg 04 van parked at Gallagher’s Mews – which is divided by a wire fence from the dozen recycling bins in Tesco car park. A Garda spokesman says three males were engaged in ‘throwing clothing across the wire into the waiting van.’ One of the bins had sustained considerable damage. Residents say one of the individuals was ‘quite small,’ raising the possibility of a child having been used to gain access to the bins’ interiors.
The Garda patrol car subsequently failed to start, and the gang escaped on foot. The van was taken away for forensic investigation. Some hours later, two Eastern European men presented themselves at Youghal Garda Station, claiming their van had been stolen overnight. ‘It is safe to say they quickly became suspects, and are now helping us with our inquiries,’ says the Garda spokesman.
The Youghal & District Community Alert programme elected the following officer at the November AGM in the Walter Raleigh hotel. Chairman: Jack Dempsey; Vice-chair: Pa Forrest; Secretary: Kay Curtain; Treasurer Michael Beecher; Pro: Sgt John Sharkey; Asst PRO: Garda Peter Queally. By Christy Parker
The incoming committee thanked outgoing Chairman and Youghal & District Community Alert programme founder Moss Lynch. Treasurer Michael Beecher said there was “tremendous credit” due to Mr Lynch, having kept the movement alive almost single-handedly over a year prior to the surge in public interest that sustains it today. Mr Lynch declined the offer of a titular position as President, saying he sought “no honours” for his commitment, but rather it was a pleasure to work for the community’s interests.
Incoming Chairman Jack Dempsey’s inaugural initiative was to re-arrange monthly meeting’s starting time a quarter hour earlier, at 7.45pm, with meetings lasting an hour at most. He also stressed that the new starting time would be stringently observed.
A question from the floor inquired as to a previous intention make a contribution gesture towards an elderly-related project. The chairman said that, with only one source of funding –an annual collection- thus far, the kitty was relatively modest. This money would likely be needed to cover unavoidable costs through 2010. However, he suggested the issue be re-considered after the next annual collection and this was agreed.
New Community Garda Peter Queally said was currently endeavouring to acquire a list of elderly people in the town and district, whether living in isolation or otherwise and asked that information on same be forwarded to him from any community source. It was suggested that a volunteer group of responsible younger people –teenagers perhaps- could also be organised to assist in visits, errand and caring for such vulnerable citizens. The chairman supported the idea but reminded that it would need to be very carefully organised.
It was suggested that a coffee morning be organised to raise funds and awareness of the Community Alert group. It was noted that a lot of people remained unaware of its functions and procedures and the treasurer Michael Beecher said he would look into the matter.
The chair concluded with an appeal to town councillors present for a few days of free parking prior to Christmas. He was told the council normally facilitated free parking from 4pm in the run up to Christmas but the issue would be discussed at the next town council meeting (Dec 14th).
At the meetings conclusion the attendance were given high visibility jackets as part of Road Safety Authority initiative.
Earlier, the meeting had received a report from Sergeant John Sharkey on crime affairs and statistics over the intervening time since October’s meeting.
These transpired as follows:
Burglaries (3): Walter Raleigh, Strand Street & South Abbey
Criminal damage (9): Strand Street, Catherine Street, St. Raphael’s, Store Street, Father O’Neill’s GAA ground, Chestnut Drive (2), Cork Hill.
Driver Under Influence (4): tested @ Lackaroe, Priory Court, Claycastle, Ballymacask.
Mandatory Alcohol Testing (MAT) Checkpoints: (9 failures): Mounted at Rhincrew (2), Greencloyne (2), Strand Street (2), Ballyvergan (2), Claycastle, Ballyvergan.
Drugs: (3): Carlton Wharf (3).
Minor assaults (7): Strand Street, DeValera Street, South Main Street, Front Strand, Stepping Stone House, Chestnut Drive, Cork Hill.
Assault Causing Harm (2): Lighthouse Hill, Usual Place pub.
The next Community Alert meeting will take place in the Walter Raleigh at 745 pm on Tuesday January 5th and on the first Tuesday of every month thereafter. Inquiries, etc to, Garda John Sharkey @ Youghal garda station (024) 92200 or to any committee member.
Youghal gardai are keen for parents to be particularly aware of their children’s whereabouts and intentions over the coming Halloween. Speaking on the station’s weekly CRY report, Garda Peter Queally recalled that last year was a particularly disruptive and depressing Halloween in east Cork and asked parents to understand the potential for problem, whether through peer pressure or personal intent. He also reassured that extra garda resources would be deployed throughout the region. Report: Christy Parker Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Garda Queally also requested retailers to be alert for signs of intended disruption, such as a sudden increase young people purchasing eggs “They are unlikely to be baking cakes!” he suggested ruefully, adding that, “throwing eggs, even against a hard surface like a wall is deemed a criminal offence of defacing property.” The garda’s concern coincides with a report that Tesco’s in Youghal and Midleton had decided, almost unbelievably, to locate their eggs near the stores’ entrances, at €1 per ½ dozen. Given the time of year, there are those who would consider the initiative more cynically opportunistic than coincidental.
The radio report also outlined firework offences related to Halloween. Possessing unlicensed (bought from unlicensed dealers) fireworks carries a fine of up to €10,000 and/or five years imprisonment. Similar penalties apply for throwing an unlicensed firework or having possession with intent to supply. Types of firework thus considered include loud Black Cats, whereas such as Sparklers are normally licensed for sale.
While it is not an offence to conduct firework display in one’s garden, it may be offensive, Garda Queally explained. He recommended that people consult with their neighbours or consider possible disruption to them, especially regarding the welfare of small children who maybe sleeping, or possibly pet animal concerns, before dispatching fireworks.
Garda Queally rounded off the Halloween agenda by submitting that Halloween partying on the beach was not illegal but the same didn’t apply to consuming alcohol there simultaneously. That in turn prompted him to remind parents to check also on their offspring’s activities during this week of school holidays. “We have a serious underage drinking problem,” he explained.
The spokesman then addressed an unfortunate misconception regarding garda patrols. “Recently,” he said, ‘some elderly people have called to the station seeking reassurance of Garda presence or even reporting suspicious disturbances in the vicinity of their homes late at night. Some callers mistakenly believed that, with the station closed overnight, Youghal gardai are dispersed to Midleton. “That’s not the case. In fact, we have extra resources on patrol in town because the station is unmanned,” reassured Garda Queally. “And if someone rings us, the phone will be answered in Midleton and a message relayed to us immediately.”
Garda Queally also reported that a woman declined to ring the gardai on a Saturday night because she was afraid they’d be too busy. “We are never too busy for a call. We have the resources,” he said.
From a quiet week previous, there were two particular incidents recalled. A burglary at the Walter Raleigh resulted in a fast arrest, with the alleged culprit due to appear before Youghal’s November court sitting.
On October 17th, between 8 and 10 pm, damage was caused to property at the new St. Raphael’s building. Garda Queally said CCTV footage was quite good and several youths may be identified in due course. However, he said gardai are also eager for any information on the incident, with full confidence assured. He repeated the possible consequences arising from of arrest for such incidents. “You only get one or two chances at the Juvenile Diversion programme before court appearances ensue. A conviction there stays with your for a long time and can badly affect job and travel prospects,” he concluded. Youghal gardai can be contacted on (024) 92200.