Violence ruled the city’s suburbs streets last weekend. It seemed that the newsworthy incidents would never cease. After the horrific and tragic loss of life on the Bandon Road Thursday evening there was no sign of the violence stopping. A man was assaulted in Blackpool on Friday evening near the church by two men armed with a hammer and a bat. On Sunday night a man was set upon by numerous men who emerged from a car armed with hurleys. A bareknuckle boxing match took place at the entrance to the theatre prior to the armed attack. Less than ten hours later a man was attacked in his own home before being doused with petrol and set alight. The Mayfield resident was put into an induced coma in the hospital and needs a ventilator to breathe. This spate of violence, while alarming in volume, has raised eyebrows but not much else. There has been a number of aggravated attacks and deaths in and around the city in the last five months. The most shocking were carried out on homeless men.
Frankie Dunne was violently murdered and dismembered in a derelict house on the Boreenmana Road in December. His body was discovered on Saturday the 28th December. He was only identified from his fingerprints as his severed arm was found outside Castlegreina house. His killer is still out there.
Timmy Hourihane was savagely beaten to death by the Mardyke in October. His tent was smouldering nearby and he died from his injuries in hospital later on.
Both of these murders were barbaric and the victims were two vulnerable members of society. It can be argued that every city has its own problems with unsociable behaviour and violence, but the degrees of ruthlessness and cruelty that has been dished out recently is disgusting. What is the cause of the recent spike?
There is every chance in the world that all of the attacks, bar the horrible death of Cameron Blair on Thursday night, were gang related, family feuds or retaliations of some sort. Perhaps they all just happened to fall on the same weekend and that we’ll have a quiet year with regards to violent crime from here on out. I would be surprised if this rise persists and fully expect things to return to normal, whatever that may be, from next weekend onward. That, however, is not the end of the problem.
There are 700* Gardaí in Cork City with 294 of these stationed in Anglesea Street. As the Gardaí generally work three different shifts of ten hours a week, covering all hours of the day, and usually work six days on and four days off, this equates to roughly sixteen guards being in the station at one point in time. Allowing for some overlap, let’s say there are around 25 Gardaí in Anglesea Street on a given shift. To cover the whole city and some surrounding suburbs, that is nowhere near enough.
There are only 38 Gardaí in the Watercourse Road station. There are 53 in Mayfield. How are these paltry numbers supposed to deal with violence that hasn’t been seen before when the numbers aren’t there to even walk a regular beat. Very rarely do I see any guards walking around town late at night. A squad car may pass once in a while and do a quick check of Patrick’s street where nobody is anyways and then drive off again back to HQ. The numbers aren’t there and either are the resources.
In the case of the hammer and bat attack in Blackpool, the two assailants were actually caught in the act of bludgeoning a man in the head with said weapons. Both were questioned and released without charge. Now, I know that files need to be prepared and that the victim in question discharged himself from hospital following the assault and perhaps decided to not press any charges. Bear with me, but if you, as an officer of the law, actually witness the assault and your prevention of the attack from continuing was probably the only factor that saved the victims life, how do the assailants walk free? There is no allegation, only a group of detectives’ word that these men probably intended to end someone’s life. The mind boggles.
Similarly, in the hurley incident by Blackpool cinema, a bareknuckle boxing match between the victim and one of the assailants takes place before the victim was ganged upon. The guards didn’t arrive for a half an hour. I hardly blame them either. Having seen the video of the boxing match I wouldn’t have gone near the area, uniform or no uniform.
Violence seems rife all around the country at the moment. Criminals and thugs don’t seem to have any need to worry about repercussions. Why would they? Most prison sentences issued for assault, rape and/or murder are being held up and pushed back, so that when someone is finally convicted their sentence has already been half-served. Often times the Gardaí and their resources are so stretched that even bringing in a perpetrator is difficult. The sad thing is, if someone tried to break into my house and God forbid I, my brother or my father killed them, I fear that the law would be quicker to put us behind bars for manslaughter; And Cameron Blair’s murderers are still at large.
*Numbers correct as of October 2019.