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Cornmarket group hire own security

Wednesday, 16th August, 2017 6:10pm

Emma Connolly


A mini mid-summer riot in the Cornmarket Street area has prompted 25 local business owners to employ security staff by day, so their customers can feel more comfortable.

The Cornmarket Area Group comprises business owners in the Cornmarket Street, Paul Street, French Church Street, Daunt Square, Castle Street and Careys Lane areas.

Mike Ryan of the Cornstore Restaurant explains how the area had been plagued with people drinking by day, defecating in public spaces, getting sick, falling asleep in doorways and shooting up heroin.

“The area has been done up and everyone is making a massive effort – but if you’re a customer sitting outside and you see someone coming towards you with their pants around their ankles, or their hand out, it’s not going to make you feel comfortable. Everyone has a heart but I’ve come onto these streets myself with my kids and I don’t feel comfortable.”

But “enough was enough” he said, when a group of 16-18 year olds, who were drinking in the area on a Sunday afternoon in June, started harassing customers outside a premises for cigarettes in a situation that escalated into a “hard core mini riot”.

The group’s current top priority is to provide ongoing private security by day who will liaise with local Gardaí to create a sense of security for the businesses, their staff involved and the general public.

Mr Ryan said: “Costs are rising across the board but to pay them we need customers to come into us, so I feel this is a cost worth incurring.”

He also stressed that it wasn’t just about the Cornmarket area but the city centre as a whole.

“The suburbs are thriving – we don’t want one more nail in the city centre’s coffin.

“The last thing we want is to give people another reason for not coming in to the city,” he told the Cork Independent.

The group has set up two WhatsApp groups between the 25 business owners involved in the initiative to manage their security campaign.

And even though they are only a few weeks into the strategy, Mr Ryan says so far it has been effective – with businesses on other streets keen to come on board.

“We can’t police the entire city so we’ll get ourselves started and see how it goes,” he concluded.

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