A KILLARNEY councillor has called on the government to allow the pubs to reopen immediately to counter the problem of hordes of people gathering in public areas with the majority consuming alcohol.
Cllr Donal Grady’s comments follow another night that saw hundreds of people descending on the streets and car parks of Killarney from early evening until late into the night.
The Beech Road car park was the main focal point with large groups gathering there.
Alcohol was also being openly consumed by groups of people on Main Street, College Street and in the vicinity of the Fair Field car park.
Gardai were maintaining a visible presence on the streets throughout the night and Killarney Municipal District Council’s outdoor crew face an appalling mess to clean up early this Sunday morning with bottles, plastic glasses, empty drinks boxes, fast food containers and cigarette butts discarded throughout the car park.
A number of pubs and hotels in the town were operating a takeaway service and the off licences and supermarkets were also doing a roaring trade throughout the evening.
Cllr Donal Grady described the situation as a free-for-all and he said he fears the Covid-19 virus will spread rapidly throughout the younger generation as a result.
“It’s attracting the wrong type of people to the town centre and it seems that all common sense has gone out the window,” Cllr Grady told KillarneyToday.com.
He said the pubs should be allowed to open as they know how to control crowds of people and they can provide proper facilities like toilets and seating.
“What was witnessed on the streets of Killarney last night wasn’t nice. This sort of thing is pulling down Killarney,” Cllr Grady said.
He stressed that there is a local bye-law prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the streets of the town and it should be enforced.
“What is happening is making everybody’s job twice as hard. We need to open the pubs because, as it stands, these people are being forced to drink on the streets,” he added.
A bye-law implemented in Killarney since 2000 prohibits the consumption of intoxicating substances in public places as it is “desirable in the interests of the common good”.
However, areas designated for outdoor dining are covered by the section of the bye-law that states: “It shall not be an offence under these bye-laws for a person to consume intoxicating liquor in an area outside and immediately adjacent to a hotel, restaurant or licensed premises during the hours of trading permitted by the Intoxicating Liquor Licence of the proprietor of such premises”.
An Garda Siochana have the power to confiscate any intoxicating substance without a warrant.