Discount drinks selling in Newcastle West ends after garda threat hits home

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

A CAMPAIGN of discount drink selling by two Newcastle West nightclubs this summer led to a 39% spike in assaults and a 25% rise in public order offences in the town on weekends, local garda Superintendent Dan Flavin has confirmed.

A CAMPAIGN of discount drink selling by two Newcastle West nightclubs this summer led to a 39% spike in assaults and a 25% rise in public order offences in the town on weekends, local garda Superintendent Dan Flavin has confirmed.

However restrictions on nightclub opening hours, which were imposed following garda concerns about the €2 per drink price war between the two premises, have now been lifted following “a significant improvement” in trading practices.

Last month, late opening in Newcastle West’s nightclubs and disco bars was cut from 2am to 1.30am after Supt Flavin raised concerns that cheap drinks were attracting “a certain element” into the town, leading to an increase in assaults, drugs offences and public disorder.

Speaking in court in the town last Friday, he said that while these promotions were taking place Newcastle West saw a 39% increase in the number of assaults and a 25% rise in public order offences.

However, following last month’s warning that gardai would seek a blanket ban on late opening and effectively shut down the town’s nightclubs unless this “irresponsible trading” stopped, Supt Flavin said that things had now improved enough for 2am opening to be re-instated.

He told Judge Mary Larkin last Friday that gardai would not be seeking any restrictions on late opening applications by Kieran O’Connor and Majella Hession, proprietors of ‘Spirit’ nightclub on South Quay, and Declan O’Grady, proprietor of Club Mission on Church Street.

Supt Flavin named both of these premises as the locations where the discount drink selling had previously taken place, but has since stopped.

Supt Flavin said that a third applicant for late opening, Wayne Cronin of Cronin’s Bar in the square, had “no involvement” with the discount drink selling.

Supt Flavin told the court that he was willing to give the nightclub proprietors “an opportunity to manage their premises in a more responsible manner”, and would not be seeking any conditions on their late opening last weekend.

Speaking to the Limerick Leader this week, Supt Flavin said that following the reinstatement of 2am opening there were “no problems” and “no significant increase” in public order and assault offences in the town over the weekend.

However he warned that if problems re-surface in future the gardai “will take action”.