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'Cop-out' to blame Dublin City Council for recent scenes in city centre - Temple Bar Company CEO

It's a 'cop-out' to blame Dublin City Council for some of the scenes in the city centre over the ...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.01 8 Jun 2021


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'Cop-out' to blame Dublin City...

'Cop-out' to blame Dublin City Council for recent scenes in city centre - Temple Bar Company CEO

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.01 8 Jun 2021


Share this article


It's a 'cop-out' to blame Dublin City Council for some of the scenes in the city centre over the weekend, the CEO of the Temple Bar Company says.

Martin Harte says DCC doesn't have control over the likes of policing or liquor licencing, but the blame for recent on-street drinking has been 'dumped' on them.

He was speaking after a weekend where chaotic scenes from the city centre were widely shared across social media.

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Dozens of arrests were made over the course of the long weekend, with gardaí dispersing crowds in areas such as South William Street and Temple Bar.

On The Hard Shoulder, Mr Harte - CEO of the Temple Bar Company, which represents businesses in the area - said the situation in Temple Bar wasn't as dramatic as it may have looked.

'Cop-out' to blame Dublin City Council for recent scenes in city centre - Temple Bar Company CEO

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He said: “I think things have calmed down a little bit with the onset of on-street dining. A bit of regulation, a few tables and chairs… there's a bit of order out there that wasn’t there in the past.

“On Friday night, there were some issues - the guards intervened quickly and correctly and were able to manage it.

“The attention the scenes got was greater than the scenes themselves. All you need to see is one negative image, and everything looks back."

He suggested that every city centre has issues with drunkenness, and also pointed out that some major European city centres currently have curfews in place.

He also argued that city policy and policing should not be driven by social media, adding that "we don't live in the land of Twitter".

While Dublin City Council has received criticism for its planning around outdoor socialising recently, Mr Harte said that many things are out of DCC's control.

He said: "I think Dublin City Council got very, very unfairly treated - I think they were used as a cynical toy by the Government, in how all the problems [with] on-street drinking were dumped on them.

“The powers they had, they used - the cleaning, bins and management of public spaces insofar as they can. To say it’s ‘all the city council’... that’s a cop-out.

“You’re talking about a reform of local government if you want things to change, and a reform of licensing laws."

"Too much debate and not enough action"

Sunil Sharpe, a spokesperson for the Give Us The Night campaign, says there's sometimes "too much debate and not enough action" when it comes to improving the city experience.

He said: “When it comes to resources for night-time policing, there’s never enough. This is a problem going back 15-20 years or more, and it still hasn’t really been resolved.

“In the short-term, I don’t think we should dismiss ideas such as night marshalls or stewards - they can have a role to play.

“There are groups like the street pastors who operate in Cork and Dublin… they’re very effective at a certain type of job, like if someone’s fallen over… or cut themselves and it’s too small to be calling an ambulance.

He also said authorities need to stop 'selling off' spaces in the city, saying there's resentment at “how much of our city is being taken away”.

He observed: “Look around… how many venues have we lost around the city? Look at somewhere like the Docklands, where there was so much potential… now there’s nothing, just a sea of glass buildings.

“Look at parks - they’re not really designed for events, but they could be."

Main image: Gardaí in Temple Bar. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

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