Additional reporting by Dan Buckley
Armed gardaí as well as the force’s riot squad were deployed to Cork city centre this evening after reports that a number of shops were about to be robbed or attacked by a group of teenagers.
The Garda Public Order Unit – commonly known as the Riot Squad – along with a single armed support unit, were sent to patrol the streets of Cork city centre amid fears that a group of teenagers were about to go on the rampage. There were also a number of gardaí on foot patrol.
Shortly after 6pm a group of up to 100 teenagers with their faces covered could be seen running along St Patrick’s Street, the city’s main thoroughfare.
There were fears that some of them would storm a number of stores in the city centre after a notice was posted posted on twitter by an unknown individual or group.
Entitled JD Cork City Robbery, the notice indicated a gathering at 5.30pm at McDonald’s restaurant on Daunt’s Square.
The chilling message stated: ‘Dress Code. You must wear all black with bally (balaclava) and gloves. You only have one minute to yam that shop. This is at your own risk. Don’t come if you can’t run.”
It also advised: ‘Don’t come in uniform’, indicating that those responsible may have been school students.
Bemused shoppers in the city centre watched as the garda units patrolled the city streets, ensuring that no rioting or robbery ensued.
One eye witness on Patrick’s Street said a group of up to 30 youths gathered earlier on the street in the evening, and began kicking bins and screaming. The group dispersed once gardaí arrived, according to the eye witness.
Calm was restored to the city centre within an hour as gardaí continued to patrol the streets.
Labour Councillor John Maher has called for all those involved in a supposed pre-planned attack on a store on Patrick’s Street to face the full weight of the law and calls for Special Branch to be drafted in as matter of urgency.
“This type of plan was chilling and sobering,” said Cllr Maher.
“When traders should be looking forward to the festive shopping season get underway they now have to contend with supposed mass raids? I commend Gardaí for dealing with this but those identified need to face serious penalties and mother involved must be brought to book.”
“I will be writing to the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to request that special branch officers are drafted into Cork City to stamp out this type of thuggery immediately. We must Lance this boil before any other copy cat attempts are made in the city or in surround shopping centres.”