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Booze battles Galway councillor calls for designated public drinking areas after chaotic weekend

Similar schemes were trialled in Vancouver and Ohio and have since been introduced on a full-time basis

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Members of the Garda public order unit clear South William street of revellers. (Pic: Arthur Carron)

Members of the Garda public order unit clear South William street of revellers. (Pic: Arthur Carron)

Members of the Garda public order unit clear South William street of revellers. (Pic: Arthur Carron)

There have been calls for designated public drinking areas to be established in Irish cities following scenes of violence in Dublin over the weekend. 

Galway Fianna Fáil Councillor Alan Cheevers said such a scheme should be rolled out “right across the country”, as there will always be “a minority of people that will cause anti-social behaviour".

“We never going to get rid of that,” he told Newstalk Breakfast this morning. “That is always going to be there.

“The majority of young people will be responsible to a certain extent. They will look at getting into a particular area where they can actually have a drink in a controlled environment and a designated area. I think it is something we need to look at.”

Three Gardaí were injured over the weekend and 55 people were arrested.

The Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) has called for a full review of the Garda actions after gardaí used batons and shields to disperse crowds of young people in Dublin City Centre on Saturday night.

However, the Garda Representative Association and Garda management have insisted the tactics were a "necessary response."

Cllr Cheevers said that “at the end of the day, people – not just students or younger people – people are going to drink outdoors anyway,” he said.

“The reality is a lot of it is down to the price of drink. If you have to go into a pub and pay €5 or €6 for a beer, why would you do that when you can go to an off-licence and buy 20 for €20 and go out on the street and drink it. That is the other side of it as well.

“I think we need a proper designated area with proper toilets. A proper area which would be allocated for people to outdoor drink in a safer environment. I think it possibly would make it easier as well for the Gardaí.”

The Councillor for Galway City East said similar schemes were trialled in Vancouver and Ohio and have since been introduced on a full-time basis.

He said any scheme would need buy-in from all stakeholders and called for gardaí and local representatives to discuss the plan with student unions.

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