Signs warning against drug and alcohol abuse will be displayed across Kinsale during next week’s Rugby 7s festival – but will they have the desired effect?
The District Court has ordered the erection of the signs in a bid to cut down on antisocial behaviour.
“Kinsale is a special place,” the signs read. “While you are here do not get involved in disorderly conduct. Assaults, public order and drug offenses are treated very seriously in the local court.”
“Remember that a conviction for a drugs offense will affect your career prospects may spoil your future travel plans.”
"Prevention is better than cure"
Kinsale Councillor Marie O’Sullivan told Lunchtime Live said the people of Kinsale “love [their] town” and want people to respect it.
The Fine Gael Cllr said “prevention is better than cure” in this situation.
“The judge in this particular case had a number of cases coming up against him after the last Rugby 7s,” she said. “[So he said] let's put a solution in place before anything happened.”
“It's just to warn people out there that this kind of behaviour won't be tolerated.”
Cllr O’Sullivan said the rugby teams involved in the tournament do not cause problems.
“The rugby teams are under strict supervision,” she said. “Any one of them that misbehave is sent home straight away.”
“[The signs] more the hangers-on who are in for the festival atmosphere that's there.”
She said there will be a large garda presence alongside the signs over the weekend.
“If you see gardaí around, you're not going to be doing things you shouldn't be doing,” she said.
“It will make an impact.”
Tournament Director Tomas O’Brien said he thinks the signs will prevent bad behaviour.
“It's basically telling you how you will be treated as if you misbehave,” he said. “It's a pre-emptive hit.”
Mr O’Brien said the teams in Rugby 7s are “quite happy” with the signs and “have worked well with the Gardaí and the courts”.
“We do everything we're asked to do to make the event better for everybody who comes to play and those who come to attend and enjoy the event,” he said.
Kinsale resident Helen told Lunchtime Live she avoids the town during the evenings of the tournament.
“People are falling around incapacitated”, she said.
“There are people as young as 14, half-dressed children, absolutely incapacitated on whatever they're on - be it drink or drugs.”
Helen said she “would like to think” the signs will be effective – but “realistically” it won’t make an impact.
“I don’t think they’d pay much heed to it. They don’t have much respect for it.”