On-trade

‘Irresponsible’ Galway pubs claim rejected by vintners

Pubs in Galway that ‘deliberately’ sought to target students with low cost alcohol promotions during unofficial ‘Rag Week’ celebrations in the city recently may find their licences being objected to by the authorities in NUI Galway after a total of 41 people were arrested.

A minority of Galway’s pubs have been accused of capitalising on the celebrations by offering all-day drink promotions at low prices following a decision by NUIG and GMIT to ban Rag Week festivities this year, according to a recent report in The Connacht Sentinel.

Gardai had to clear The Hole in the Wall on Eyre Street around 7pm as a result of concerns over health and safety following a ‘Donegal Day’ event which involved drinking all day long.

The staff of Supermac’s also asked Gardai to close down the premises temporarily when management became concerned with overcrowding and boisterous behaviour by students.

The Sentinel reported that social networking sites such as Facebook were used by some pubs and clubs to organise low cost alcohol promotions for what they termed ‘Social Week’. The NUIG accused these outlets of being irresponsible, stating, “It is the university’s intention to write to the Vintners’ Association and ask them to publicly reprimand those involved in deliberately targeting students with such promotions.

“It is also the intention of the university to object to future licence to be awarded to these establishments. Students have reported individually to University management that they were targeted by pubs in a very irresponsible manner.”

However VFI Galway Chairman Terry Tyson of the Rockbarton Park Hotel in Salthill completely rejects the NUIG claims, defending licensed trade outlets in Galway.

“I spoke to the Hole In The Wall owner afterward who denied reducing prices and he made no attempt to target students but the pub has always been a student pub,” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “On the night in question too many students accumulated there and they closed down temporarily. When they opened again, it became too crowded again as some of the premises is sectioned off for refurbishment”.

There was no major problem at that stage, he added, “The problem was on the streets with these youngsters going around.
“The students and lots of others are just consuming so much alcohol which is readily available in supermarkets; pre-loading and then coming out around the town.

“They were not spending any money in the majority of pubs as they were not allowed in due to their condition. The pubs here have a policy that they do not allow them in in groups like that. It was the mass consumption of readily-available cheap beer that caused the problems.

“They were coming into the town in busloads which didn’t help either. I personally saw 60 or 70 students being unloaded from buses there, all very intoxicated.”

And he also wondered where the students were getting the money to drink so much.

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