Call to refrain from “irresponsible drinks promotions” following Copper’s crush

Pubs and nightclubs must refrain from irresponsible drinks promotions to young people and improve security, Fine Gael Dublin South Central TD Catherine Byrne has stated.

Her comments follow a crushing incident at Copper Face Jacks earlier this week when an 18 year-old girl was left in a critical condition in hospital. Seven others were injured in the incident which involved an estimated 1,500 people queing after midnight for the popular nightclub venue now in its 18th year.

The incident took place between Camden Place laneway and Harcourt Street for Copper’s ‘Messy Monday’, a promotional event which offered three Jagerbombs for €10, a Southern Comfort and a mixer for €3.50 or three ‘Frosties’ for €10.

“The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s Code states that marketing for alcoholic drinks must be socially responsible and should not exploit the young or the immature,” Catherine Byrne stated, “It also clearly states that alcohol marketing should not promote excessive drinking.

“The promotion of nightclub events to young college students as ‘Messy Mondays’ is clearly in contravention of this Code, encouraging as it does excessive drinking by young people. The pub and nightclub industry must pay heed to the ASAI’s Code and act responsibly in the promotion of events.

“Nightclubs must also take the health and safety of their patrons more seriously and invest in sufficient security outside their premises when they are hosting large events,” she continued, “I have heard anecdotally that nightclubs sometimes admit too many people on busy nights, leading to huge crowds inside their premises. This presents an obvious risk to young people who should be entitled to enjoy their night out in safety,” she concluded.

In order to alleviate the building pressure during the incident, Copper Face Jack’s proprietor Cathal Jackson had opened a fire escape from the Camden Place laneway into the club and subsequently ended the promotional nights offer following a meeting of the club’s management.

Open seven nights a week, the club has been one of the most successful in Dublin for the past 18 years, declaring nearly €7 million in pre-tax profit last year. It has seven bars and employs around 183 bar staff (including directors Paula and Cathal Jackson). The club employs a team of around 50 security staff.

Upgraded and refurbished every 18 months or so, ‘Coppers’ can expect around 1,000 customers a night during the week which can grow to 2,500 on a Saturday night.

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