Extended bye laws governing the consumption of alcohol in public places around Kilkenny are to go on display in the coming days, with the county council voting in favour of the move last week.
A number of councillors asked whether the resources were there to support the bye laws. Cllr John Coonan (FF) said the measures would be ineffective if the Gardai coudln’t enforce them.
“Bringing in bye laws is a terrific thing to do, but are we satisfied that we can implement them successfully?” he asked.
Cllr Maurice Shorthall (Labour Party) said that in the Joint Policing Committee meeting earlier that day, Gardai had given assurances that the bye laws could be enforced. He also said that he thought they had been successful thus far.
“I understand where Cllr Coonan is coming from,” he told the council.
“But I would say from a Castlecomer perspective, it has been very constructive in that it has almost curtailed public drinking completely. The secret has been that the Gardai can go along and confiscate drink.”
Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) said that the issue of alcohol needed to be addressed at a more fundamental level.
“These bye laws themselves are a product of alcohol consumption,” he said.
“It is estimated that alcohol is costing €3.6 billion to the exchequer, in absenteeism, for health services, in public order offences and crime. The scale of alcohol consumption is astonishing, especially among young people. It is quite possible for a woman to reach her threshold for a week with just €6.70.
“[The former minister of state] Roisin Shorthall had it on her agenda to tackle it, and I suggest the council write to her successor and to Dr James Reilly to stop alcohol being used as a loss leader. It is also doing damage to our pub industry.”
The bye laws will go on public display in the coming days.